In 2015, Pittsburgh City Council passed Ordinance No. 36, which prohibited the harm of any wild bird and allowed any individual who possessed proper permits and/or licenses to capture wild birds. Although the Ordinance was enacted with the intention of protecting the city’s wild birds, its vague language allowed those without the proper expertise to trap birds, resulting in injury to the birds and danger to the public. Since its passage, HUMANE ACTION Pittsburgh has been advocating for the strengthening of the 2015 Ordinance.
Through collaboration with HAP, City Councilor Bruce Kraus introduced an amendment to the ordinance on February 21, 2020. On March 4, 2020, Pittsburgh City Council passed an amendment that 1) restricts who can trap wild birds in the city and under what conditions; and 2) prohibits the sale of all native wild and non-domesticated birds. Now only qualified and trained employees of the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Animal Care & Control, licensed veterinarians, licensed wildlife rehabilitators, wildlife capture and transportation permittees, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission can trap wild or non-domesticated birds, and they are only permitted to do so when necessary to capture an injured bird or a bird located inside a building. Assisting Councilor Kraus in drafting the language were attorneys Elissa Katz, Esquire, and Humane PA and HAP volunteer David Mongillo, Esquire, with consultation from Pittsburgh Police Officer Christine Luffey and HAP member and pigeon expert Cheryl Mosco.
Arrests Made for Pigeon Poisoning
On Tuesday, March 23, 2021, four people were arrested after a HAP member found ten pigeons convulsing on the ground near the Frick Building in downtown Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving Day 2021. An investigation revealed they ingested a chemical called Avitrol, which is illegal to use in Pittsburgh thanks to the Amendment HAP wrote and helped pass in March 2020 that prohibits any person or entity from harming any wild bird. Press release below.
We are hopeful these changes will not only protect wild birds in Pittsburgh but will also limit the amount of birds trapped and sold for pigeon shoots across the state, as stopping PA’s pigeon shoots remains an important cause to HAP.
For humane solutions with dealing with pigeons, please visit our Pigeons Resources page.