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It Is Illegal To Kidnap Pigeons And Take Them To Indiana

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Jan 24, 2013 10:30PM

A man was recently spotted trapping pigeons in Uptown and putting them in a white pick-up truck, and residents familiar with Ald. James Cappleman's (46th) hatred of the birds immediately pointed to him as the bird thief.

It seemed like a strange, paranoid reaction at first, with people thinking Cappleman had the birds "disappeared" in some Jason Bourne-esque conspiracy. But the alderman has since admitted that, yes, he invited Indiana farmer Herbert Govert to come take a few of the birds out of the neighborhood.

Activist group Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) had offered a $1,000 bounty for the identification of the pigeon-napper, as Cappleman's office had refused.

"An Indiana farmer contacted us and offered to capture and take pigeons to his farm," Cappleman Spokeswoman Tressa Feher said in a statement. "He wanted them alive."

Govert has admitted to taking the birds home for pigeon shoots, which, as it turns out, is illegal without a permit. Indiana Department of Natural Resources Lt. Jerry Shepherd told CBS that Govert will not face charges for the crime, though. They just want him to apply for a permit with the Department of Natural Resources’ Fish and Wildlife Division.

The destination and fate of the birds prompted more ire from SHARK, which is now planning to protest outside Cappleman's Uptown office on Friday, demanding the alderman assure no more pigeon trappings will take place. SHARK writes in a statement:

Hundreds to thousands of birds are slaughtered in a single shoot, with many escaping the shoot area wounded, only to die slowly over hours or days from their wounds, exposure, infections, hunger, thirst, or predation.

Ald. Cappleman's distate for pigeons is well known. In May 2012, a woman feeding pigeons shoved the alderman when he swept up bread crumbs she'd put out for pigeons. In December he introduced an ordinance to crack down on people who feed pigeons by upping the penalties.