pigeon patrolA lonely woman who ignored a council order to stop feeding the pigeons in her garden must pay a £640 fine and £1,729 court costs.

Katherine Spiller, 66, said the birds were “a bit of company”, but attracted so many that neighbours complained.

Spiller, from Oxford, admitted breaking a community protection order.

The lonely woman fed pigeons in her garden for 20 years so that they could keep her company.

Pensioner Katherine Spiller began inviting the birds into her garden in 1995 by throwing seed from her bathroom window.

The 66-year-old attracted large flocks of pigeons – which are recognised as a pest in the UK – as well as smaller garden birds to keep her company.

However, over the past two decades the former librarian and administrator has amassed complaints from fed-up neighbours who can’t stand the birds which defecate on their property and dominate the garden walls like a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Spiller has also caused a flap among shoppers in Oxford city centre where she has also been spreading the seed.

As a result, dozens of pigeons would descend daily onto the street near picturesque and historic Magdalen College as well as other locations across the city.

Following a growing number of complaints, Oxford City Council stepped in 12 months ago and ordered her to stop.

Despite this, the “habitual bird feeder” was put before magistrates again after ignoring the order between August and October last year.

Magistrates in Oxford were shown dozens of pictures of the birds sitting on the roof and ledges of Spiller’s terraced house as well as sitting on her neighbours buildings.

Jeremy Franklin, representing Oxford City Council, told magistrates that neighbours had reported her continuing to put out bird seed.

Mr Franklin added: “The defendant is an habitual feeder of birds, mostly pigeons, which congregate around her house in large numbers, causing a certain amount of distress and antagonism to the neighbours.

“The warning notice required the defendant to cease dropping bird seed or foodstuffs that would encourage birds, vermin or other animals in her garden or anywhere and to keep her garden free from weeds and plants providing shelter to vermin and other animals.

“Despite the imposition of the notice, the defendant was found to have breached it by continuing to feed the pigeons.”

Mr Franklin said the city council might have to take further action to stop Spiller from feeding the pigeons unless she could change her habits.

He added: “Those charged with dealing with this problem are at their wits end.”

A spokesman for Oxford City Council said after the hearing that neighbours were unable to use their gardens in the summer months because of the birds perching and defecating in the gardens. He added that a nuisance was being caused by bird flying into windows.

Spiller had sent a letter to the court, admitting she had failed to comply with a community protection notice and the court clerk revealed it was “very, very rambling” and mainly consisted of “poems that have been written by Ms Spiller”.

The panel of magistrates handed Spiller, who did not attend the hearing, a fine of £640 for breaching the community protection order handed out in February last year. She was also ordered to pay a £64 victim surcharge and £1,729 prosecution costs.

Speaking from her home, the keen poet said: “The birds like being fed but now you can’t feed them in town. You can’t even feed the ducks.

“There was not the same law in place at the time when I first began feeding them in 1995. I think it is a wicked law and it makes it hard on the pigeons.

“They could be an amenity for people who lack a bit of company. I don’t have a partner or children so the pigeons were my only company, and people do look for company in the pigeons.”

Spiller, who wrote a poem in 1997 entitled Pigeon Woman which reflects on her own experiences of feeding the birds, added that she would remain hopeful for the future that the law on feeding the pigeons would change.


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Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.

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