Court orders 6-month ban on bird feed for suburban couple, citing it as a “health risk”

I’m very saddened to read about people being ordered to stop feeding animals in their own backyard. If this couple were feeding foxes and cougars and bears and crocodiles etc., I would agree that they should cease and desist, because such animals are threats to humans if they become too used to people. But they’re feeding birds and possums and raccoons, animals that are about as dangerous as domestic pets unless you mess with them.

Also, this article says that the neighborhood was “plagued” by raccoons. Plagued? Raccoons aren’t a plague! A troop of raccoons has been eating the cat food at my parent’s house for years (a house in the middle of the suburbs, close to downtown), and they have never caused us or our neighbors any trouble, beyond a slight increase in cat food expenses. We also have possums that eat our cat food, and they are even less noticeable than the raccoons. The cats don’t mind either groups of guests. All the animals just mind their own business and everyone is fine. My parents enjoy watching the raccoons and all the other critters.

As for the ducks – I know a lot of folks dislike ducks because they defecate all over nicely trimmed lawns, etc. Can’t you just look at it as free fertilizer? And the bread scraps in the bowl – maybe that isn’t an ideal way to feed birds, according to official bird-feeding guidelines (although, judging from my past experiences feeding bread to ducks and geese, I suspect the birds would disagree), but it surely isn’t so offensive as to negate all bird-feeding privileges.

We do share the planet with other species, you know. Let’s all get along, relax, and not be so uptight and germiphobic and animalphobic.

Oh yeah, feel free to argue with me, if you want (nicely!). I’d like to hear dissenting opinions, too.

-Kitty Mowmow

Halina and Richard Rogulski said they just wanted to enjoy the freedom of watching birds feed outside their Prospect Heights home.

But on Thursday, they emptied their five feeders and agreed to comply with a six-month ban on putting out birdseed—an order from a Cook County judge who ruled against them in a neighborhood dispute.

“I was born in communist Russia, and in Russia, there was no freedom to pray . . . but not the birds. We could feed the birds,” said Halina Rogulski, 73, a Polish immigrant who came to the United States after spending three years as a child in a German labor camp during World War II.

Neighbors John and Alice Gornick had complained the Rogulskis’ feeders, as well as the dish of bird food and bread that was put out for ducks, was a health hazard because it attracted too many birds and raccoons, opossums and other critters.

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