Saskatoon

Saskatoon woman says people may be using neurotoxin to poison local pigeons

Warning: this story contains disturbing photos and details

Warning: this story contains disturbing photos and details

Jan Shadick runs Saskatoon's Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation. She says people have flagged 35 dead pigeons to her since January, and she suspects most were poisoned. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

A Saskatoon woman who helps restore injured birds to health is calling on the City of Saskatoon to help curb a trend she says concerns her.

Jan Shadick runs Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation. She says that since Jan. 1, people have called her about 35 dead pigeons.

Based on the symptoms described, Shadick says she "strongly suspects" most of those birds were poisoned.

"The pigeons are convulsing. They're having seizures," she said.

"One woman contacted me about a dead pigeon in her yard. I think it was in a flower pot and she was concerned because her dog goes out in the yard."

"It's an animal. It's a life. And I don't think it should suffer," said Shadick. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

Shadick said she believes a particular neurotoxin used to repel birds is to blame. In a public letter to city councillors, she said Saskatoon Light and Power has used that neurotoxin in the past.

Brendan Lemke, the acting director of Saskatoon Light and Power, said, "SL&P does not use poison to kill pigeons in or around its substations.

"It has, in the past and consistent with best practices, retained the expertise of pest control experts which have used widely accepted chemical repellents for pigeon control, but SL&P has not used those products or services since 2017."

Shadick wants the city to ban use of the product by anyone in the city.

"It's an animal. It's a life. And I don't think it should suffer," Shadick said Thursday as she grasped a dead pigeon wrapped in a plastic baggie.

Saskatchewan's Ministry of Environment said it has not granted a permit for the use of the neurotoxin and would only do so "in exceptional circumstances."  

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