Feed a Pigeon, Breed a Flying RAT 

flying rat

Q: I’ve often heard that it is illegal to feed pigeons in New York, yet I see people doing it all the time. Is there really such a law? And if so, why isn’t it enforced?

A: Despite a common public perception, there is no law that makes pigeon feeding illegal everywhere in the city. That said, the Parks Department posts notices prohibiting feeding in many areas under its control. If you ignore the sign, you may get an Environmental Control Board summons from the parks enforcement patrols or from the Police Department. The usual penalty is the minimum of $50, which you can mail in. You can fight it in court, but you can be fined $100 if you are found guilty. 

Even where pigeon feeding is not prohibited, both the Parks and Health Departments discourage the practice, citing litter and rodent problems. A Health Department poster warns: “Feed a Pigeon, Breed a Flying Rat.” 

This attitude irks Anna Dove, founder and director of the New York Bird Club. “There is never any left-over feed from people feeding pigeons and other wildlife in the city, so littering is a poor excuse against pigeon feeding,” said Ms. Dove. (Yes, that’s her name; she had it legally changed from Augusta Kugelmas when she founded the club about three years ago.) 

“After I feed,” she added, “most of the time I remain in the area to make sure the feed is not swept away by building maintenance people. Every morsel is eaten.” 

Source: NY Times

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