NORTH HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island man was in State Supreme Court Thursday arguing his prior conviction is for the birds.
As WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported, Kenneth Iacono of North Hempstead was convicted in 2011 and fined for violating a town code prohibiting the feeding and harboring of wild pigeons.
But Iacono’s attorney said his client wasn’t feeding the pigeons, saying the birds were only eating the seed that had fallen from bird feeders at his parents’ New Hyde Park home.
One man who learned of the case said he can’t believe it’s up for appeal.
“You’re kidding me, aren’t you? Is this serious? I can’t believe it,” a local told Xirinachs.
As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the Iaconos have several bird feeders in their back yard.
Neighbors complain of horrible pigeon droppings and say they haven’t been able to sit on their back decks in years.
“I’ve spoken to him about the pigeons, and he says they’re not his. He says they come and they go, and he’s merely being philanthropic,” neighbor Martin Krumerman told McLogan.
The town of North Hempstead accused the family of maintaining, feeding and harboring pigeons, which is against local law.
Iacono’s family was with him in court Thursday, asking that Kenneth’s name be cleared and the charges be dropped.
“This is another case of abuse of power by local governments. Since they’ve elevated simple zoning violations to criminal offenses, it just goes on and on,” defense attorney Andrew Campanelli told McLogan.
Campanelli said although it is a misdemeanor, it is a criminal violation which is on his client’s permanent record unless the conviction is tossed.
“I believe it’s about preserving quality of life and the health and safety of a community,” North Hempstead deputy town attorney Peter Dzwilewski said.
Some neighbors said they’re worried the pigeons are carrying diseases, while others in the town wonder how much all these pigeon court proceedings are costing them.
“It is a waste of taxpayer dollars to pursue something like this,” said one resident.
“It’s a waste of time. The pigeons are going to reproduce. They’re going to be back,” added another resident.
The Iaconos deny they lure pigeons, saying they love all birds and provide only some seed and corn.
The attorney in the pigeon case recently defended a man whose neighbor accused him of laughing too loudly and a couple whose children were making too much noise in the backyard swimming pool.
The pigeon case will be ruled on next month.
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