SOUTH JORDAN, Utah – It was on doctor's orders that the self-identified "pigeon man" didn't go home Tuesday.
Boris Majnaric, a 75-year-old retired schoolteacher, was recently hospitalized and advised to avoid the stress of seeing his handmade home for hundreds of pigeons demolished.
The Deseret News reports that the Tuesday demolition puts an end to a legal battle between Majnaric and the city of South Jordan.
The 384-square-foot, four-room loft in Majnaric's South Jordan backyard was home to more than 200 pigeons of various colors and species — fulfilling his childhood dream of caring for "man's oldest feathered friends."
The city, however, limits residents to 40 adult pigeons.
When officials told Majnaric the birds had to go, he spent more than $40,000 fighting the city in court. But last week, a district judge did not sign an order to stop the demolition.
"I will feel very incomplete because pigeons have been part of my life," said Majnaric, who is also facing three misdemeanor charges related to his backyard birds.
"It's going to be an empty thing for me," he said. "I don't think it's fair what they've done to me."
His conflict with the city began about four years ago, when neighbors noticed an explosion of pigeons and complained to the city about the birds "dropping things" on their property.
Kathy Brown, who lives across the street from Majnaric, said the birds didn't bother her.
"The pigeons are his children. He's taken good care of them," she said. "I feel for him, but you have to obey the laws, too."
On Tuesday, the flocks of pigeons were replaced with South Jordan animal control offices and public work employees who gathered to watch the loft come down.
Yellow caution tape lined Majnaric's yard and Utah Disaster Kleenup removed pigeon droppings and prepared to dismantle the structure.
The city has also given Majnaric 30 days to relocate a gazebo that served as a roosting place for dozens of the birds.
City officials say they decided to take down the loft after Majnaric failed to comply with multiple court orders to reduce his yard's pigeon population.
"We really, really tried to work with him and get the population under control," said South Jordan spokeswoman Tina Brown.
But she said the numbers never went down to the level they agreed upon.
Majnaric agreed last summer to move the loft and gazebo himself to a house in Cottonwood Heights, said John Walsh, his attorney. But his structures didn't meet the zoning requirements there.
Majnaric stopped keeping pigeons in mid-January, although some still visit his yard. He traveled to California and Oregon to find homes for some of his pigeons, spending thousands of dollars to move them.
Some of his favorites are starting a new life on a farm.
"This is how much I love these birds," said Majnaric of the cost the lawsuits and relocation. "I wanted to defend them."