The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Pigeon Case: Feed the Birds, Face Nuisance Charges?

The fictional, magical nanny Mary Poppins once told her young charges to “feed the birds.” However, if you follow her advice too well, you could face criminal charges.

A Burbank business owner who simply wanted to feed the birds is accused of creating a public safety nuisance at Bob Hope Airport by feeding a large flock of pigeons, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Charles Douglas pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges of creating a public nuisance and disobeying a court order in September. Instead, his criminal defense attorneys argue that he should only face an infraction as opposed to a state misdemeanor.

Infractions are minor civil violations, which usually result in smaller fines or fees. Misdemeanors, on the other hand, are more serious offenses that can be punishable by a sentence of one year in jail or less.

Typically, feeding pigeons is considered a violation of municipal code, which is usually an infraction. However, pigeons can cause serious air safety issues if too many of them fly near airplanes, according to The Burbank Leader.

It also seems that the 59-year-old just can't stop feeding the birds. He has allegedly been cited repeatedly for feeding them since September 2010. Burbank prosecutors stated Douglas had already been ordered to stop feeding the pigeons by a judge and his actions constitute a contempt of court and necessitate misdemeanor charges.

A judge is expected to issue a decision on whether Douglas will be facing an infraction or misdemeanor charges next week. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you should consider speaking with an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney or a public defender. They may be able to see if your offense could be lowered, or dismissed altogether.

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