Neighbor calls attention to snake, pigeon breeding operation
Coming home everyday is not the peaceful and relaxing experience it should be for one local resident.
Laurie Druckenmiller, of Benton, says that living next to a home with a number of boa constrictors which are part of a breeding operation, as well as a pigeon breeding operation, is wearing her thin.
At one point, she estimated nearly 150 snakes were in the residence next to her home, but there are currently no laws preventing her neighbor from having that many or the breeding operations in the city limits.
After approaching Mayor Tom Farmer, Animal Control Manager Terry Parsons and the Benton City Council, that may be changing in the future.
“The pigeon coop is straight across from my kitchen window,” Druckenmiller said. “I can’t open the kitchen window now because the houses are so close. He is raising 10 pigeons that I know of so far.”
Druckenmiller is concerned about the diseases that the pigeons carry and since they are right outside of
her kitchen, she is concerned about it being a health hazard.
“I’ve got a petition that I’ve taken from a couple of neighbors,” Druckenmiller said. “I’ve got 53 neighbors that have signed it saying that they would not want to live next door to these pigeons and they do not want to live next door to someone who is raising and breeding snakes. Boa constrictors, to be exact.”
Druckenmiller has been trying to get something done on a legislative level to put limits or ban the activities within the city limits. She has also been in contact with the Arkansas
Game and Fish Commission, but was told that her local Animal Control department would be able to help her and that it’s not the AGFC’S jurisdiction to regulate this particular situation.
“There needs to be something addressed with the pigeons,” Druckenmiller.
One neighbor shared with Druckenmiller that her father raised racing pigeons and that he was required to be out in the “country” because of the disease that they carry.
Druckenmiller pointed out the fact that there are laws stating the residents cannot have chickens within the city limits, but none that address pigeons. There are also laws on the books stating that individuals cannot have more than four dogs, four cats or a combination of the two, but nothing regarding snakes. There are also no licensing regulations or requirements in regard to these two animals.
“I can’t open my window for fear,” Druckenmiller said. “That may sound trivial to you guys, but it’s not to me. It’s my health. It’s my family’s health.”
Alderman Bill Donnor asked if Druckenmiller was requesting that the council write an ordinance against snakes and pigeons.
“Yes, I would,” Druckenmiller said. “If he wants to have these that’s fine, but the amount that he has is not acceptable. Pet shops don’t even have that many snakes.
Donnor said the council took great care in crafting its ordinances related to animal control, but that they never imagined a situation like this would arise.
“That’s why I’m bringing it to your attention,” Druckenmiller said. “I think something should be brought up and written up so that somebody else doesn’t have this issue.”
City Attorney Brent Houston told Druckenmiller during the May city council meeting that he and Parsons were working on an ordinance regarding her issues and that they will address her concerns.
“It will be ready in a few weeks for consideration by the committee,” Houston said. “It is being addressed.”
Druckenmiller also stated that Farmer had been a great help to her in this process.
The city council’s Animal Control Committee will address the issues in a 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday. The meeting will be held in the mayor’s conference room at the
Benton Municipal Complex, located at 114 S. East St.
All meetings are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.