Neigh­bor calls at­ten­tion to snake, pi­geon breed­ing op­er­a­tion

The Saline Courier Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Dana Guthrie

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.

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