County tries pigeon hotline
Looks to public for advice on evicting pestsBy David Schwartz
The Arizona Republic
Thursday, December 15, 1993
With an eye toward the sky, Maricopa County set up a special hotline Tuesday for suggestions on how to deal with its pesky pigeon problem.
County residents can call 506-2969 to offer their thoughts on how to rid the Madison Street Jail of pigeons, whose droppings are creating a clean-up nightmare.
Officials said establishing the hotline was logical after they received more than 100 telephone calls on Monday and Tuesday following a story in The Arizona Republic.
On Monday, it was reported that the county planned to kill the pigeons by installing poison soaked perches on the building. The poison apparently would enter the pigeons bloodstream through their feet.
Jack Shomenta, an assistant county manager, said the poison perches were cost-effective.
In a memo last month to the county Board of Supervisors, Shomenta said the initial poison cost would be $9.000. then $1.700 annually. This compared with the $28,000 it would have cost to screen the louvers on the building where the birds perch.
He added that the poison plan is legal and should be implemented despite the chance of negative publicity because it might seem inhumane.
Then came the calls.
"I've been real busy," said Judi Bishop, Shomenta's executive secretary. "I'm the pigeon queen."
Shomenta could not be reached for comment Tuesday, and it isn't known how long the hotline will be in place.
He has said he will listen to suggestions, but he still thinks poison is the route to take.
Callers had other ideas.
One person suggested stretching giant Slinkies across the perching places -- it seems pigeons don't like the popular toy.
One caller suggested trapping the birds, then transporting them north via helicopter.
Still others favor the shotgun approach: Take out the shotgun, aim, fire.