Chicago pigeon racing fans won’t see their birds come home to roost as fast as they hoped.

An ordinance to let breeders of homing pigeons keep them in lofts in Chicago was held in committee Monday. The measure’s sponsor, Northwest Side Ald. Gilbert Villegas, 36th, said opponents of the idea made their voices heard after he introduced it last month.

“I’m going to have a meeting with both sides and hopefully come up with a compromise,” Villegas said.

Pigeon racing is “deeply loved in Poland,” Villegas said when he brought forward the plan. He was joined in sponsoring it by fellow Northwest Side Aldermen Ariel Reboyras, 30th, and Nick Sposato, 38th.

The ordinance would let breeders of “pedigreed rock doves” keep the birds at their homes in lofts “that are inspected and certified on a regular basis to ensure the birds are kept in clean, sanitary and healthy conditions.”

The City Council outlawed homing pigeons in residential areas in 2004 after people living near residents who kept the birds complained about getting “splattered” when they tried to hang out laundry or sunbathe. At the time, pigeon supporters said their pets are unfairly derided as “rats with wings.”

Members of Chicago racing clubs went to federal court, but in 2005 the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge upheld an earlier district court ruling that found the city was within its rights to ban racing pigeons as pets.


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