Deal with droppings

The City of DeKalb faces another tough dilemma—determining a way to detain the droppings of its pigeons.

Potty training camp has become much too expensive, not to mention messy. Shooting, shocking or poisoning the pigeons violates a city ordinance. And expecting them to clean up their own messes is out of the question.

The pigeon problem was brought to the attention of the city council by downtown property owners and shoppers who apparently were plagued by the periodic droppings. The pigeons have made DeKalb their home by nesting in building alcoves, balconies, roofs, and on canopies and facades.

As a result, the council began an experiment about two weeks ago in which pigeons were shipped to a remote, rural site by a local wildlife preservationist until their “homing” instincts passed. To protect the pigeons, they are netted, placed in a cage and brought to the sites where they are shifted into a large compound.

Unfortunately, this humane approach has not effectively removed most of the pigeons. And the $400 cost of the project including cage materials and construction plus $5 per pigeon for the painstaking labor to place the pigeons elsewhere does not seem worth it.

So, what does the city do? Deal with it!

What’s a little dropping here and there? It’s certainly not worth the $400 cost expended by the city to keep its downtown free from falling excrement.

The city can’t seem to solve the problem. Before a problem can be solved, it must be defined. Maybe—there is no problem.

Council members spent part of Monday night giggling over the issue of their fine feathered friends. Eventually, the decision was shuffled off to a workshop charged to come up with some creative answer. But other cities in the same situation have been unable to find a solution at an affordable price.

Obviously, in order to get rid of the pigeons in a humane way, money will have to be spent. Obviously, DeKalb doesn’t have the money and has no alternative. So, give it up and get on with business instead of wasting taxpayers’ time on forming workshops solely for the purpose of thwarting droppings. The city has more important things to be concerned with and so should downtown merchants and shoppers.

Let the poor pigeons call DeKalb home and deal with their droppings by stepping over them and looking up periodically—they’re just another part of nature. So far the pigeons are ahead in the pecking order of city government.