‘A Bird-Brained Idea’

Published January 9, 2013

As if Chicago police didn’t have enough to do.

As of the end of September 2012, 400 people were murdered in the city, largely due to gang shootings. The death toll is expected to reach 500 by the end of the year.

Yet one Chicago alderman wants a new law requiring jail time for persons caught feeding pigeons.

It’s already illegal to feed pigeons under the Chicago City Code, but violators are subject only to fines of up to $500. 46th Ward Ald. James Cappelman wants the offense to carry a jail term of up to six months and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

“They’re gonna arrest someone for feeding a bird?” one Chicagoan asked. “That’s kind of ridiculous.”

“It’s silly,” said another. The alderman “should be focusing on other problems. Like the budget and all that type of stuff that aldermen do.” The city has a budget deficit of nearly $300 million.

Others called it “a bird-brained idea.”

Sources: “Chicago Homicides Reach 400 This Year, City Turns To Twitter For Ideas To End Violence,” Huffington Post-Chicago, October 1, 2012; “Uptown Alderman Wants To Make It A Crime To Feed Pigeons,” CBS-Chicago, December 13, 2012 h/t jonathanturley.org; “Chicago mayor’s budget aims to shrink deficit,” Reuters, October 10, 2012