Judge allows South Jordan to tear down pigeon admirer's backyard loft

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  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    May 8, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    To "dansimp" the problem if you grandfather him in under the ordinance from 1996 is that there is no definition of "reasonable". You may say 10 is reasonable, but he may think 400 is reasonable. How to do you measure reasonable? If you can't measure it, then it becomes opinion, which can be different from person to person.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 8, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    I live in South Jordan. Thirty years ago, when we first moved here, the city was agrarian. There were open fields and farm animals everywhere. Gene Fullmer lived down the street, just across the West Jordan border. But his mother, his two brothers, Jay and Don, and his sister all had homes in South Jordan. All of their yards abutted each other. They had sheep and horses on their property. At one time Gene raised mink. The cities did not interfere.

    Now, South Jordan is more like other cities. Some people who move in think that they can dictate to others how others use their property. Boris Majnaric's pigeons were there first. Mr. Majnaric has constructed attractive coops for those pigeons.

    Should the city hire "hunters" to kill wild birds because some people find them objectionable? How many robins or quail or mallards can I allow to fly into my yard and eat from my garden before a "judge" turns my yard into a shooting range?

  • John Harrison Sandy, UT
    May 8, 2014 10:22 a.m.

    Limiting the number to 40 is a simple matter of reducing the space available to the pigeons and putting out less food. While I agree that some form of grandfathering is appropriate, these are rats with wings. If he were providing food and shelter to 300 rats that were free to come and go as they please you can bet the comments here would be different.

    He needs to take measures to limit the capacity of his pigeon house to 40 birds. And 40 is a lot of birds.

  • Jefferson Kalispell, MT
    May 8, 2014 7:54 a.m.

    Joe Blow: Stay on topic and don't try to turn this into a gun debate.
    My2Cents: There is NO reference in the news article about an approved zoning permit, so where you got that idea is a total mystery.

    If this were a cat lady with 100 cats, would you like to be the neighbor? I'll lay odds that not one of you defenders of personal freedom would like to be neighbors with 300 pigeons either. Nobody wants to destroy his hobby - until his hobby begins to infringe onthe rights of his neighbors to the clean and peaceful enjoyment of their property. Either you make that reasonable accomodation or you lose the privilege. Saying "it's hard to limit my pigeons" doesnt' get you a free pass - especially when you are feeding and breeding them.

  • Wyomex Burlington, WY
    May 8, 2014 7:53 a.m.

    Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
    Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.
    "Feed the birds," that's what she cries,
    While overhead, her birds fill the skies.

    All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
    Look down as she sells her wares.
    Although you can't see it, you know they are smiling
    Each time someone shows that he cares.

    Richard and Robert Sherman
    Feed the Birds

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    May 8, 2014 6:56 a.m.

    Then trap the birds and remove some of them but reasonable and manageable are unenforceable and the district court should overrule in this case.
    This is a case where a city employee, the code enforcer, takes a case to another city employee, the judge, and it is prosecuted by another city employee. Who do you really think is going to win in this case. The appeal is to a non-city employee.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 8, 2014 4:24 a.m.

    So, if this guy had a bunch of friends with guns, would he become a national hero if he mounted an armed resistance?

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    May 8, 2014 3:28 a.m.

    I don't think this guy goes out and brings these birds home to roost so how he can be held accountable is ridiculous. People put out dog food and cat food outside and it attracts ground vermin (skunks, rats, mice, moles, and every thing that flies) and its called survival in the animal world.

    His approved zoning permit should be grandfathered and transferable and he has no control of birds and he can't shoot or poison them so its something the neighbored will have to live with, they are the intruders, not the pigeons. The only thing the city can say is how many coops he can have according to his permit using the same logic limiting the number of cats and dogs a household can have on one property.

    Apparently there is plenty of insects and bugs and worms for the pigeons to flock there and the birds have lost habitat so they go where they determine it to be safe. I have Dove who nest in my yard and find them a resource controlling insects rather than a pest.

  • Beaver Native St. George, UT
    May 7, 2014 10:35 p.m.

    Dansimp, you make a good point. There was an ordinance when he moved in, although unspecific as to what a reasonable number was, the ordinance's intent was not changed, just clarified, the birds were not confined to his property and that amount of birds would make a mess with neighbors' yards. That number of birds would be a nuisance to the neighborhood. It's a different situation than it would be with farm animals. If the farm animals are confined to the owner's property, it's reasonable to grandfather them in. If they had roamed someone else's property, they are encroaching on someone else's property rights. As long as he is intentionally feeding them, not confining them and not limiting their numbers, he's contributing to the nuisance.

  • dansimp Layton, UT
    May 7, 2014 5:55 p.m.

    I feel like some of these comments didn't read the article at all. Complain about moving in and changing a rural community? His house was built in 1996, not 1896, he is the guy who moved in. And others believe he should 'absolutely' be grandfathered in. Even if he was, the ordinance back in '96 said a 'reasonable' amount of birds. In what world is 300+ pigeons reasonable? It just feels like so many people are so ready to attack anything that 'government' does, they don't even stop and think for a minute. 300+ pigeons. If it was cats, I don't think anyone would be talking about how this old man should be allowed to keep his 300+ cats, because he really likes them, and he had a kitten when he was a kid.

  • dansimp Layton, UT
    May 7, 2014 5:49 p.m.

    I'm kind of surprised at everyone's comments here. There were, according to the stories, upwards of 300 pigeons at various times. There are only 2 pigeons that hang out around the balcony at my office, and it is absolutely disgusting. These aren't farm animals, they aren't 'pets'. They aren't special homing pigeons or show pigeons. They are rats with wings, that he likes to feed. If he had a reasonable number, sure, but upwards of 300? That is disgusting, and the city absolutely should be responding to the neighbors completely reasonable complaints. I'm sure if your next door neighbor had 300 pigeons, chickens, cats, mice, snakes, sheep, etc.., everyone here would want something done about it.

  • True Blue SEoul Orem, UT
    May 7, 2014 5:25 p.m.

    Wow! I'm dumbfounded! This is like that story of the police in Orem dropping the old lady to the ground and arresting her for not watering her lawn! Unbelievable! Only in Utah are police and city officials so bored and with so little to do that they have time to go and prosecute an old man for his bird coop. Talk about government overreach!

  • Evets Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 7, 2014 5:09 p.m.

    First he should be grandfathered in and second doesn't the city have more important things to do?

  • Frogs, Fish, Windmills & Dams St. George, UT
    May 7, 2014 4:25 p.m.

    It seems unreasonable that city or suburban residents move into a farming area because of the atmosphere and then want to suburbanize or citify the farming area and get rid of all the animals. Next to go will be the sheep. Farmers are eventually forced out of business whether they want to stay in business or not, in many cases suffering losses from which they cannot recover.

  • thebig1 SLC, UT
    May 7, 2014 4:23 p.m.

    This is what happens when you have a judge and gov't officals making decisions

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    May 7, 2014 3:49 p.m.

    Doesn't South Jordan have better things to do?

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 7, 2014 3:44 p.m.

    Just because a judge has "allowed" the city of South Jordan to destroy this elderly man's hobby passion, does not mean that it should do so.

    Yeah, the rule of law and all that (which I usually support), but in the list of priorities, this should fall somewhere near the very bottom of things any city should ever take to court, let alone exercise its brute force police powers over.

    This is in the same category as sending a SWAT team to shut down an unlicensed lemonade stand run by a six year old.

    How about if the city exert some more effort on policing gangs, cracking down on drug dealers, or arresting illegal immigrants, instead of busting up an old man's pigeon loft?

    But, I can just about guarantee that the city bullies will carry out the destruction of this man's pigeon loft, just to show mere "citizens" know who is in charge.

    Shame on the city, and specifically any and every city employee or contractor who chooses to "just follow orders" and engage in such an action.

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 7, 2014 3:04 p.m.

    I agree that his home should be grandfathered in. South Jordan, shame on you!

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    May 7, 2014 3:01 p.m.

    It seems there may a bit too much ambiguity in the statute that allows for interpretation of what is reasonable or manageable. Not being a neighbor, I couldn't say whether the birds are being properly managed but the accompanying photo seems to show a fairly well-managed bird house with capacity for proper care of a large number of birds.