SYRACUSE -- Pigeons are safe in this city for the time being.
The city council shelved proposed new regulations on pigeons last week after extensive discussion about animal-related ordinances in a work session and then in the general session.
The proposed changes were part of suggested amendments to Title 8 and Title 10 of the city code. The guidelines were rewritten to require that animals be kept on their property, and officials singled out pigeons, among other offenders.
City officials use a point system to determine permitted animal uses, depending on the size of the property.
For example, large animals, such as cows or horses, are assigned 20 points and require a large property, while pigeons are assigned two points and would be permissible on smaller lots, along with rabbits and chickens.
Councilman Matt Kimmel argued for a change in the property-size guidelines, suggesting more uses for permitted animals on a quarter-acre to a half-acre parcel.
He also moved to have any reference to pigeons removed from the ordinance in its final form.
That led to the council eventually tabling the proposed amendments, sending the matter back to city staff for further review and potential changes.
Mayor Jamie Nagle asked how property owners can control pigeons and keep them in their yard.
"It sounds like an enforcement nightmare. We want to make sure it's a solution, not a problem," she said.
Kimmel argued that getting specific regarding pigeons could eventually evolve beyond that.
"The next time we rewrite this code, are we going to include mice and rats? How do you prove whose pigeons are whose? Let's get real," he said.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Ray Zaugg took city officials to task for considering pigeons in the city code, saying:
"Why do we need to regulate pigeons? Are we going to regulate crows and magpies? Are we going to regulate secondhand smoke?
"We need to be careful what we regulate. Let's have some freedom as citizens."