Las Vegas Sun

October 30, 2014

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Housing panel hears pigeon-trapping pitch

The use of poison to thin pigeon flocks at the city's affordable housing complexes soon could become a policy of the past for the Las Vegas Housing Authority.

The authority's board of directors heard Monday from the owner of a Las Vegas trapping company, who touted the benefits of setting out live traps instead of corn laced with poison to combat pigeon over-population. The presentation by Jon Hauger at the board's monthly meeting prompted directors to ask for a review of the authority's existing pigeon removal program.

Earlier this year the board authorized a California pest control company that uses Avitrol, a federally approved pesticide, to eliminate pigeon flocks at the city's 12 affordable housing complexes.

The board, contending that pigeons present health and safety risks to residents, awarded a $39,000 one-year contract to Pestmaster Services Inc. in February.

Residents of Robert Gordon Plaza, an affordable housing complex at 425 N. 11 St., charge that Pestmaster's use of Avitrol has killed hundreds of pigeons and songbirds.

Hauger, 30, runs the pigeon control service PCS Enterprise. He traps pigeons for commercial and residential properties in the Las Vegas Valley and throughout the western United States, then sells the birds for $2 apiece to pigeon merchants across the country.

Hauger said that compared to Avitrol, trapping pigeons both costs less and spares residents from watching the hours-long death throes a poisoned bird endures.

Hauger hopes to convince the board, which retains the right to terminate the Pestmaster contract, to give his company a chance at handling pigeon control for the housing authority. He has offered to remove the pigeons at any of the city's affordable housing complexes free of charge as a demonstration of sorts.

Board Chairman Dewain Steadman said he is very confident Hauger's proposal will come before the board for a vote at its Oct. 25 meeting.

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