Protests over plan to get rid of sparrows

July 11, 2008 4:15:12 PM PDT
In Mercer County, New Jersey, a plan to clean up a shopping plaza is ruffling some feathers. Some vocal teenagers and animal lovers are crying foul because the idea is to exterminate birds. 17 year old Lauren Mandel and her friends have formed a group called Save Our Sparrows and are collecting signatures on petitions asking the management of the Acme Shopping Center on Route 571 in West Windsor to find a way other than chemicals to get rid of the sparrows that have been nesting here for years.

"They're planning on exterminating all the sparrows in this vicinity by spraying them to death. We don't feel this is very humane and we don't feel it's very sanitary, either," Lauren said.

The sparrows live in the eaves of the overhang along the storefronts and their droppings are all over.

"They're constantly making a mess of the building everywhere. They're up here, people are walking in," said Mitch Brown, the owner of the ATT store. He says he's got to clean the door handle and entrance regularly to get rid of the droppings.

"I think there's got to be a workable solution between getting rid of the birds and killing them with chemicals," said David Kreuz of West Windsor.

"There are non-lethal kinds of ways to deal with this problem. By killing them you don't make them go away," said Nancy Bowman of West Windsor.

She says the shopping center should do what the RiteAid here did: install wire netting to discourage the birds. She's threatening that if the sparrows are exterminated: "I've been shopping here for 30 years and that will stop."

We were unable to reach the management company that runs this shopping center, but they've told the township health department that based on the reaction they've gotten they are revaluating how to get rid of the birds.

It seems a lot of people want to make sure however they do it, it doesn't involve killing the sparrows.