Several hundred pigeons living in the downtown market square were to be trapped and exterminated after city council voted to get rid of them.
Council members agreed with its bylaws committee, which heard numerous complaints from citizens, groups and businesses who lived and or worked in the area, where the downtown library stands today.
The original request came from the Local Council of Women which claimed the birds were the creators of filth and disease.
J.T.J. Collisson, who lived in the McLeod Building, told committee members the filth left on the windowsills of the building made it look like “a country barnyard.”
N.S. Mackie of the Imperial Bank said the pigeons had angered customers.
“It is most embarrassing for our customers. They come in and complain and tell us we should do something about it. All of us have to run this gauntlet … some of us not too successfully.”
One member of the Local Council of Women, Olivia Smith, defended the birds.
“I think they are a fine sight as they swoop and wing about the downtown buildings. There’s pigeons in every big city and they don’t seem to want to get rid of them like this city.”
The meeting ended with the committee recommending to council that commissioners take the necessary steps to destroy the birds and, bring in a bylaw, if needed, prohibiting well-meaning citizens from feeding them, which was the cause of the problem.
The birds were to be trapped and killed by two city employees who were pigeon fanciers, with a lot of experience handling the birds.
In a letter read at council, Mary Sather, “longtime sole patron” who daily spread grain on the market square for the pigeons, said she was “happy to know that they shall be destroyed, for it will bring to an end their abuse by the boys who trap them, contrary to our humane laws.”
She suggested the most humane way to kill them was to electrocute them.
“I shall always have the memory that I have gladdened hundreds of human hearts by feeding the pigeons, for there are people who fully realize the rights of God’s lower creatures.”
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