Few neighbors seemed to mind when a man believed to be a farmer from Indiana hauled multiple Uptown residents away in his truck mid-January.
The reason: the captives were pigeons—or as some Uptown residents known them—a total nuisance.
The supposed farmer's pigeon roundup, however, may not have been legal according to an ABC Chicago report.
DNAinfo Chicago reported Ald. James Cappleman (46) OKd the pigeon removal after an Indiana farmer contacted the alderman's office in December and offered to capture and take pigeons to his farm. A spokeswoman for Cappleman refused to name the man, but DNAinfo reported the man told Cappleman he wanted the pigeons alive.
The birds' deportation has ruffled the feathers of one animal rights group who believe the pigeons met a more foul end. The group Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) planned to demonstrate outside Cappleman's 46th ward office Friday morning in protest.
According to a SHARK press release, the group identified the farmer as Herbert (Bud) Govert, calling him "a notorious Indiana pigeon trapper who supplies live pigeon shoots for gun wielding thrill killers in Indiana and other states."
Steve Hindi of SHARK told ABC "No farmer is going to take pigeons to their property. Farmers want to eliminate pigeons from their property."
Another SHARK activist, Janet Enoch, spoke to the Sun-Times and accused the Uptown alderman of violating the Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act for green-lighting the pigeon capture. Enoch said there were “three or four” pigeon round-ups in the parking lot adjacent to the CTA’s Lawrence station.
Tressa Freher, a spokeswoman from Cappleman's office told the Sun-Times they didn't even know the farmer's name but that animal control "didn't seem to have a problem with what he was doing" and said the police were on hand.
Social worker Steffeny Smith did have a problem with the roundup, telling ABC she witnessed it from her window on Jan. 11. “You could hear the pigeons crying," said Smith. "They were like smashed into the ground.”
Separate spokespeople with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources told reporters bringing pigeons into the Hoosier state from Illinois would be illegal without a permit and that the department hasn't issued out such a permit in ten years. The one exception: if the pigeons were imported for "personal consumption."