Chicago — A federal appeals court has upheld the city's ban on pet racing pigeons, rejecting claims by some enthusiasts that the ordinance is unconstitutional.
The ban makes Chicago the only large U.S. city that outlaws pet pigeons, according to the American Racing Pigeon Union.
The pigeons coo excessively and scatter feathers and droppings, proponents of the ban said.
"We're not hurting anybody," said Karl Wollenhaupt, secretary and treasurer of the Greater Chicago Combine and Center Inc., a pigeon racing club. "This sport has been in existence for hundreds of years, but the city says these birds are bad, dirty and evil. These are birds of pedigree."
The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling Thursday that backed the city of Chicago's ordinance, which was passed more than a year ago. Balancing the interests between the pigeon club members and their neighbors was not the court's role, the ruling said.
Other cities have set limits on the number of birds or required screenings to monitor disease, the racing union said.