Pigeons problem in Phoenix neighborhood

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

PHOENIX -- Rebecca Millett enjoys her Phoenix neighborhood.

“I've lived in the neighborhood for 16 years and this is really a beautiful Central Phoenix neighborhood,” she said. “Most of us have half-acre lots and we have a lot of pride in our ownership.”

But Millett and other homeowners say not everyone in the area is so neighborly.

“We have someone in the neighborhood who has been maintaining pigeons in their carport area,” Millett explained.

The homeowner Millett and others are upset with lives here, where pigeons can be found nesting around his home, along with massive amounts of pigeon droppings.

Homeowners say pigeon feathers constantly blow around the neighborhood and in some cases, like in Millett's yard, there are dead pigeons.

“Between feathers and the droppings, it is just not a healthy environment," Millett said.

Jill Ocano lives in the neighborhood and feels the same way.

“Pigeons in particular are known to carry several diseases that will affect people’s respiratory track and even their nervous system,” Ocano said.

Other neighbors complain that the pigeon droppings are even eating away at their roofs.

So, who is the homeowner who reportedly keeps feeding and causing the pigeon problem?

His name is Stephen Laubauch, and he stepped outside his home recently to talk with a 3 On Your Side investigator.

"I like all animals, I give contributions to a lot of animals.  Why, you don't like pigeons?” Laubauch asked.  “They are God's creatures, OK.  You have a problem with that?"

Well, the neighbors certainly have a problem, and they want something done.

“The smell is unbelievable. It smells like a pigeon coop and feathers are flying everywhere constantly,” Millett said. “My flagstone is always filled.  I discourage anyone from walking up on it.”

Neighbors have filed previous complaints with the city and county.

As a result, Laubauch received violation notices, notices he seems to have forgotten about.

“You have been cited for this already,” a 3 On Your Side producer  told Laubach.

"No, there's no citation,” he replied. “You can feed pigeons in Arizona; there is no problem with it."

"No, you do have a notice of ordinance violation right here,” the producer said, showing him the paperwork.

Millett and others have been documenting the pigeon feedings -- both before and after Laubach was cited -- but they say the problem continues.
“You can't be feeding pigeons,” the producer told Laubach.

“I'm not feeding pigeons,” he replies.

"Look, here are pictures,” the producer said, showing him pictures of him putting out food.

“That is for my animals I feed; I have cats,” Laubach explained.

While Laubach claims he is not causing the pigeon problem, neighbors say they know otherwise.

“We have all dealt with a lot of stress. It is the constant clean, it is the odor, it is the flies,” Millett said.  “And really, it is just something that we should not have to live like.  We should not have to live like this.”

“Their droppings are unsanitary,” the producer told Laubach.

“I know it is unsanitary,” Laubach replied.  “But I wash it off; I'm not too concerned with that."

3 On Your Side has been in contact with the city of Phoenix, which has received numerous complaints about the pigeons and has referred the case to the City of Phoenix Prosecutor’s Office for possible charges.

Prosecutors, however, have refused twice before to pursue charges due to lack of evidence.