Stop the Capture and Transport of NYC's Pigeons for Cruel Pigeon Shoots

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For decades, the Philadelphia Gun Club has held cruel and savage pigeon shoots. The club is based in Bensalem in northeast Pennsylvania, the only state in the nation where pigeon shoots are not illegal.

"To any ethical hunters they are the scum of the earth," said Steve Hindi, president of the Illinois-based animal rights organization Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, or SHARK, about the event's participants. "Pigeon shoots are vile competitions where thousands of birds are shot, killed or suffer terrible wounds and crippling pain," the organization says, calling them "Pennsylvania's shame."

Like many animal rights activists who have tried to interfere with the club's notorious shoots, Hindi asserts that these bloody events, in which pigeons are flung into the air by handlers to be shot at by shotgun-wielding club members, are illegal since they violate Pennsylvania's animal cruelty statutes: § 5532. Neglect of animal,  § 5533. Cruelty to animal,  § 5534. Aggravated cruelty to animal.

SHARK filmed a live pigeon shoot on October 28, 2017, at the Thunder Ridge game farm, located in Middlebury Center, Pennsylvania, where they documented severe animal cruelty as the heads of dozens of pigeons were torn off, which violates states's anti-cruelty law.

The pigeons used in these shoots are from New York City, where they are captured and transported across the state line. In 2017, a woman witnessed one such "bird-napping" in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where she saw a man use bird seed to lure a group of unsuspecting pigeons. “With a massive net—looked like a big butterfly net—he captured a bunch of pigeons and threw them in to a van, and then drove off,” she told CBS News.

Now, a new bill introduced by the New York City Council may help protect the city's pigeons from this terrible fate. The bill would "would prohibit the unlawful capture, possession, sale or purchase of wild birds. Violations of the law would be punishable as misdemeanor offenses subject to a maximum of one year in prison or a $1,000 fine or both." The bill, Int. 1202-2018: Prohibiting the trafficking of wild birds, is being co-sponsored NYC Council Members Carlina Rivera , Justin L. Brannan, Andrew Cohen, Daniel Dromm , Alan N. Maisel and Eric A. Ulrich.

If you're a New York City resident, please urge your City Council member to support this bill. If you don't know who your council member is, look them up here: NYC Council Members & Districts. If you're not, please sign this petition anyway to show your support of this bill, and tell the NYC Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio that you will more likely visit New York City if this bill passes and NYC's pigeons are safe from Pennsylvania's cruel pigeon shoots.

Read more on SHARK's coverage of these cruel shoots.