LATHROP, Calif. — An ordinance to allow licensed PMPs to use firearms to kill pests, such as pigeons, recently went into effect in Lathrop, Calif., according to a recent story in the Modesto Bee.
In the past, only police and animal control officers could use weapons in health or safety-related emergencies.
The move to add PMPs to the list of those allowed to shoot pests started with a plea for help from J.R. Simplot Co., a food and agribusiness corporation based in Boise, Idaho, with a facility in Lathrop that makes and stores bagged fertilizer.
Simplot's warehouses, used to protect fertilizer from rain, are shells of structures that are not sealed, said Claire Pacheco, site services manager. Pigeons enter the warehouses through the sides and roofs, roosting in warehouse lofts, she said.
For the past two years, the company has tried to get rid of the birds using a variety of methods, from netting them to putting out an auditory bird distress call that's meant to scare them away, she said.
Terry Clark, an owner of Lodi, Calif.-based Clark Pest Control, told the Modesto Bee that his company does a lot of pigeon work, and he does not believe firearms are necessary. He said he worries about flying bullets in Lathrop, from personal experience.
Clark's father, Charlie Clark, back in 1950 was trying to rid a warehouse in Oakdale of pigeons and found himself patching the hole he'd blown in the roof.
Clark Pest Control experts typically bait the birds, getting them used to eating in a certain place, and then give them a chemical material that distresses them and makes them realize the area is not good for them, Terry Clark said.
There are other methods, too, he said, such as using small plastic spikes to keep them from landing.
PMPs interested in choosing this shoot-to-kill extermination method must first pay a fee and get a permit. Applications will be reviewed by animal services. The police chief has the final say on who qualifies.