While the city of Temesvár (Timişoara) still struggles to contain the pandemic, two municipality councilors representing the alliance of the Save Romania Union and the Freedom, Unity and Solidarity Party (USR-PLUS) have plans to disperse pigeons in Temesvár. Councilors Rodica Militaru and Răzvan Stana have recently come up with a draft amendment to a city council decision, proposing sanctions for those who regularly feed animals — especially pigeons — in public areas.
As Militaru and Stana told the tion.ro news portal, they seek to get pigeons out of Temesvár especially because they cause damage to historic buildings and monuments (editor’s note: with the acid released from their excrement). If people stop feeding them, the birds will move out to the countryside from the city squares and streets. The fine for those who regularly feed animals in public areas in the city would vary between RON 100 and RON 200. Furthermore, the two councilors have drafted a new regulation concerning pet owners too, tion.ro noted. The drafts will be subjected to public debate, then the local council will vote on them.
“It is one thing to feed an animal occasionally, and it is another to systematically go out with a bag of food and feed animals – for instance, stray dogs and pigeons – in predetermined locations, causing discomfort to other citizens,” Răzvan Stana underlined. “Not to mention that this type of behavior does more harm than good to these animals; for example, as pigeons begin to gather in larger flocks, this might even lead to inhumane and ineffective attempts to reduce their numbers,” the councilor added. However, no one will fine a child for giving a few crumbs to some pigeons or someone who incidentally gives some food to a dog on a street. Nevertheless, intentional, systematic feeding should be sanctioned, Stana noted.
As the two councilors pointed out, pigeons will not starve if their feeding stops in the inner city; the flocks will simply disperse, and the birds will move to greener areas in search of food. “It is not right to feed pigeons in cities. They specifically hang around town squares and populated areas to help themselves to what we leave behind. Moreover, leftovers and crumbs can attract mice and rats too,” Militaru detailed. The idea is not to start an action against pigeons but to simply discourage them from gathering in flocks, she added.
The protection of architectural heritage is an important motivation behind the plan to ban the feeding of pigeons. As the councilors noted, this is not a new measure: London has introduced the ban since 2003, and if someone is caught feeding pigeons, they are fined GBP 500. In Vienna, the sanction was introduced in 2014. “All the Italian cities on the UNESCO list have had a ban on feeding pigeons since 2008. Unfortunately, they are degrading historic buildings, bridges and statues, and the people of Timişoara are investing considerable amounts of money in the restoration of historic buildings,” Militaru emphasized.
On their new regulation draft for pet owners, the USR-PLUS councilors propose that rules be set up by owner associations.
Previously, the citizens of Temesvár had to procure the written consent of their neighbors if they wanted to adopt a cat or a dog; unfortunately, many situations of abuse and harassment were reported. According to the draft, pet owners will no longer need the consent of their neighbors, but they will have to take all measures possible to avoid any inconvenience to neighbors. Meanwhile, condominiums should have their own set of rules so that anyone who wants to buy or rent a flat can know these in advance.
Another provision of the draft regulation concerns the transportation of animals via public transport. While it is forbidden to get on a bus, trolleybus or tram with farm animals, those who want to travel with their pet dog or cat must buy an extra ticket. If the animal disturbs anyone, the driver will be allowed to ask both the owner and pet to get off.
All drafts will enter public debate this month, but the city hall has not announced an exact date yet.