The City Council of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is cracking down on pigeon feeding.

The Strategic Planning, Environmental Sustainability and Public Services departments recently issued a penalty against a woman for feeding pigeons.

The event occurred in the heart of Santa Cruz, where the woman, known for repeatedly feeding pigeons, was fined.

Although seemingly harmless, the act contradicts the Municipal Ordinance Regulating the Protection and Ownership of Animals.

Mayor Jose Manuel Bermudez emphasised in a statement: ‘A simple event like this can lead to public health problems, and our responsibility as city managers is to prevent that from happening, which is why the council will continue to sanction people who feed animals on public roads.’

Feeding pigeons in public spaces is considered a severe administrative infraction. The fine can reach up to €1,500.

Carlos Tarife, the Councillor for Strategic Planning, Environmental Sustainability and Public Services, noted, ‘the events are frequently repeated by this woman who refuses, in her words, to change her behaviour.’ She reportedly used large plastic bags filled with rice to feed the birds.

According to the councillor, feeding pigeons raises public health concerns. Tarife added, ‘These people who feed the pigeons must be punished because it is an act that alters the health and natural balance of the city.’

Issues like increased pigeon excrement and the attraction of rodents are significant concerns. The city’s policy prohibits animal feeding on public roads or spaces without proper authorisation to maintain health and environmental balance.

While feeding pigeons might appear to be a benevolent act, it poses considerable health risks. Pigeons can carry diseases such as histoplasmosis, salmonellosis, and cryptococcosis.

They also host external parasites like bedbugs and ticks. Accumulation of their excrement and nests can lead to serious respiratory problems and allergies.

The proliferation of pigeons can cause significant economic damage. Their nests and droppings damage buildings and public infrastructure, necessitating costly clean-up efforts.

For instance, Madrid’s Puerta de Alcala underwent restoration due to damage caused by pigeons. To protect the monument post-restoration, Madrid City Council employed a falcon and two eagles to deter pigeons, highlighting the extent of the issue.