‘Crack whip on pigeon feeders’

A flock of pigeons feeding on leftovers thrown by beggars in front of the Guan Yin Temple in Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, George Town.

THOSE who feed pigeons need to be fined for the sake of public health.

Calling for bylaws to effect this, Teh Lai Heng (PH-Komtar) called on local councils in Penang to enact such laws and make it an offence to feed pigeons in the state.

He said those caught feeding pigeons in Thailand can be fined 25,000 baht (RM3,125) or even jailed for up to three months.

In Singapore, he said an amendment to the republic’s Wild Animals and Birds Act on March 25 allowed authorities to fine pigeon feeders S$500 (RM1,525).

He said a health expert in Universiti Putra Malaysia had said the dust and fungus of dried pigeon dung will get airborne and people will breathe them in.

“Those with low immunity and are asthmatic face the risk of getting diseases when they inhale these.

“We need bylaws to stop people from feeding pigeons in public, ” he said while debating the state’s budget for next year in State Assembly yesterday.

In July, The Star revealed that there were colonies of pigeons that have taken over abandoned low cost flats in Rifle Range, Ayer Itam.

The birds gained access through broken windows and doors.

After many years, a thick carpet of droppings and pigeon carcasses – over 10cm thick in places – formed on the floor of these units.

Worse still, foreigners were seen breaking into these units to harvest fledgling pigeons or squabs, a delicacy for them.

Penang Island City Council tried to locate the owners and issue them a notice to clean up, but because these flats are about 50 years old, the original owners are believed to have died and the descendants who inherited them no longer care about these small, one-room flats.

The council subsequently entered these units to clean up the biohazards.

Ornithologist Dr Gino Ooi said pigeons are entirely reliant on the human race for food and nesting places.

They do not roost or nest in trees and only dwell in man-made structures. They do not look for food in the wild.

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