TEXARKANA, Texas – Poisoned pigeons began nose-diving into pavement and dying on downtown sidewalks, marring the city's annual festival.
Authorities cleaned up more than 25 sick or dead birds that apparently had eaten poisoned corn from the roof of a nearby bank branch.
"The death of these pigeons was more than an unfortunate accident," local CapitalOne Bank President Lacy McMillen said in Tuesday's online edition of Texarkana Gazette. "It was not the intention of the bank to harm any of these birds."
McMillen said the bank hired an exterminator to handle its pigeon problem after a bird entered the bank and defecated on a customer.
The company hired, Anti-Pest Co. Inc. of Shreveport, La., said its goal with the treated corn was to sicken pigeons so they would leave the rooftop. Death was sometimes an unfortunate side effect, company president Jarrod Horton said.
A similar pigeon control effort at a hospital in Schenectady, N.Y., led to a hazardous materials incident in July. Emergency workers spent hours searching the hospital grounds and putting dead birds in red hazardous-waste bags after an exterminator use a pesticide to get rid of pigeons on the roof. Fire Chief Robert Farstad had described the scene as birds "coming down like dive bombers."
Vera Martin, working at Texarkana's weekend Quadrangle Festival, said the poisoning in the Texas-Arkansas border city sends a bad message to children.
"I think it's cruelty to animals," she said. "What other animals could be killed in the process of doing this?"