LAKE HAVASU CITY – The Mohave County Environmental Health Department in Lake Havasu City has seen an uptick in pigeon complaints this past month. Supervisor Buster Johnson would like to remind the public that the feeding of pigeons in both the unincorporated areas and incorporated cities within Mohave County is prohibited. “This is one of the first ordinances I helped pass and put into place during my first term,” Johnson stated. “With a lot of new residents to the area, it’s important we remind folks of this ordinance and the health risks associated with feeding them,” Supervisor Buster Johnson stated.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), pigeon droppings can carry diseases such as Cryptococcosis, Histoplasmosis and Psittacosis. Droppings on rooftops can also lead to health hazards and building ventilation issues. A1998 county ordinance makes it a civil penalty, punishable by up to a $5,000 fine, for feeding pigeons. The definition of feeding pigeons pertains to placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering, directly or indirectly, of food. “This ordinance applies whether one intends to feed pigeons or not,” Johnson explained. While feeding of other birds through a feeder is not prohibited, the feeding of pigeons is. The County’s Environmental Health Department, which oversees enforcing the ordinance, is complaint driven. “When they receive a complaint, they will go out to the property and inform the resident about the ordinance and inform them that they need to stop feeding the pigeons,” Johnson stated.
According to the County’s Environmental Health Department, an initial visit from the County usually stops further complaints. In some rare incidents though, the individual may refuse to stop feeding them. “In this case, we will send out an official notice of compliance violation via certified mail. If at that point they do not stop, the County Attorney gets involved and it becomes a civil manner,” Johnson explained. While the County has never needed to go that far, one found guilty of violating the ordinance could be on the financial hook for the removal and/or abatement of the pigeons and/or their droppings, inspection fees incurred by the Environmental Health Division staff, associated attorney’s fees, miscellaneous fees and recording fees.
If anyone has any questions or wishes to file a complaint regarding the feeding of pigeons, they can do so by calling the Mohave County Environmental Health Department at 928-453-0712