London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Chelsea 1962

Annual report of the Medical Officer of Health for the year 1962

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- 65 -
A local authority is empowered by Section 121 of the Public Health
(London) Act, 1936, to seize and destroy pigeons believed to be ownerless
where they congregate in numbers in excess of that considered reasonable.
In past years the Council both trapped pigeons by the use of direct
staff, or made use of suitable self-employed pigeon catchers to operate
on highways and open spaces, no charge was made for this service, but
allocations of pigeon food were made to the catcher. At the direction
of the Public Health Committee both methods were discontinued some
years ago. In these circumstances and having regard to the strongly
divided public opinion on the subject, the only action that can be
taken on complaints of pigeon nuisances is to advise the persons concerned
of firms undertaking either the destruction of the birds or the proofing
of buildings with one or other of the proved harmless bird repellents.
Feeding of pigeons is strongly discouraged and all complaints are
investigated, the persons responsible being approached and informed of
the nuisance being caused to adjacent properties by filth and noise,
which would not exist if not encouraged by feeding, and that the birds
will certainly not starve if left to find their own source of food.
Improvements are often effected by these discouraging talks. There is
no doubt that pigeons in large numbers are not acceptable in built-up
areas and a reduction in numbers would be beneficial in every respect,
but the days of the free service of the pigeon catcher are past.

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