Monday, March 26, 2007

Hundreds of pigeons make for foul tenants

I am so disgusted with the 2 pigeons nesting on my balconey, I can't even imagine how gross it would be to have hundreds in my apartment. I felt like a bad tennant for overflowing the tub yesterday, but this makes me realize that any landlord would be lucky to have me.

Cooped up birds, mice found in tiny apartment after stench alerts neighbours

Mar 26, 2007 04:30 AM
Tamara Cherry
Staff Reporter

Residents of a Bleecker St. apartment building were stunned yesterday when their complaints about a foul odour seeping from a 15th-floor apartment led to the discovery of hundreds of pigeons and cannibal mice being raised by a man later detained under the province's mental health act.

The free-flying birds and caged rodents were found crammed inside the small apartment, which was fouled with animal droppings and littered with valuable books and an extensive collection of pornography.

The books and porn were protected with plastic wrappings, a human society inspector said, suggesting the occupant knew his wildlife collection was creating a mess.

Officers responding to residents' complaints of animal noises and noxious odours arrived at the Bleecker St. apartment north of Wellesley St. and west of Parliament St. around 2:15 p.m.

"We found literally hundreds of pigeons flying loose, rats, mice, excrement from animals throughout," Toronto police Staff Sgt. Stan Belza said.

Following the repelling discovery, police called in the Toronto Humane Society, which found between 300 and 400 pigeons and 250 mice, spokesperson Lee Oliver said.

"The pigeons were actually being bred," Oliver said. "There were eggs and that sort of thing and they built nests inside the apartment."

Many were found inside rows of open cages stacked to the ceiling of the 800-square-foot apartment. Scores of others flapped up against each other and the cages, leaving layers upon layers of excrement smothering the floor and furniture.

A man in his mid-60s was arrested under the the Ontario Mental Health Act after he was "deemed to be suffering from a mental illness," Belza said, adding he was the only human occupant of the apartment.

"There were 250 mice in an aquarium without food and water and apparently, they were actually eating each other because this guy wasn't feeding them at all," said Oliver, who discounted reports of rats in the apartment.

"The biggest number were the pigeons," he said. The mice, Oliver added, "were just extraneous to the mess."

While the birds and mice lived and died in their filth, selected items were wrapped in plastic to protect them from the gruesome conditions.

"Apparently he had some really expensive book collections, like a biography of Beethoven and that sort of thing, wrapped in plastic so the pigeons wouldn't destroy them," Oliver said. "And, apparently, a lot of pornography."

"He would have to know the damage (caused by the birds)," Oliver said of the arrested tenant. "If he can identify something as valuable and cover them up, then yes, he had an idea of the damage he was doing."

Four Humane Society officials in masks and white biohazard outfits worked into the evening to capture the free-flying birds, which were boxed and removed. The animals were taken to the society's downtown office's wildlife centre, with pens and coops usually reserved for injured birds brought in from the street.

"Most of these pigeons will be transferred to those pens and we'll also try to find some other shelters," Oliver said.

The apartment's doors have been sealed to protect other tenants in the building, none of whom were evacuated, Belza said.

"Until the rest of the cleanup is done tomorrow, they were advised to put towels under their doors and those will suffice," he said.

Over the next couple days, the birds and mice will be tested for the presence of diseases before being freed in a location predetermined by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Oliver said.

Oliver and Belza said they've never heard of a situation like this before.

"They were surprised, shocked," Belza said of the attending officers. "They had never in their lives, in their professional careers, cumulatively anticipated anything like this."


Jennifer said...

Also, if I was a tennant in this building, not only would I tape the doors and while this whole clean up thing was happening, I'd be in an hotel, yuk.

Miss Ash said...

Oh man, it's not funny at all but I burst out laughing at the "extensive collection of pornography" part. Why did they have to add that in there.

Absolutely disgusting. I'm wondering why it took this long (400 birds and 250 mice) to complain about the stench or have someone do something about the stench.