By LACEE SHEPARD
Capital News Service
LANSING – Local officials could restrict ownership of carrier pigeons on a community–by-community basis under a new legislative proposal.
Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood , D-Taylor, introduced a bill that would allow cities and townships to decide their own restrictions on carrier pigeons.
The bill began after Hopgood received a constituent complaint about a neighbor owning too many carrier pigeons.
“We thought we should give the cities the ability to do what make sense for a given community,” Hopgood said. “Then they can look out for the health and welfare of local residents.”
The proposal wouldn’t allow a local ban on the bird but would allow local governments to impose a limit on ownership if they see fit, Hopgood said.
Making regulations like this a local problem instead of a state problem drew support from others, like Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart.
“The bill leaves it up to local government. Why should we deal with it?” Booher said.
It also would allow communities to tailor regulations to their needs based on rural and urban environments, said Hopgood. It’s difficult to make regulations that work well for communities if some are densely populated and others aren’t.
Carrier pigeons are not a common problem in most areas, said Nikole Brown, a legislative associate for the Michigan Municipal League, an organization that represents cities and villages.
“This is the first time I had heard of the issue,” Brown said. “Usually if it’s a problem for one community, it’s a problem for another.”
Dave Sauro, a member of West Side Members Pigeon Club, said carrier pigeons are the same as other domesticated animals, much like a dog.
Sauro said carrier pigeons are as much responsibility as other pets and credited them with keeping children out of trouble.
The other co-sponsor is Sen. Mike Nofs R-Battle Creek.
The bill is pending in the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee.
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