Pigeon coop controversy in Westchester Co.

November 17, 2010 8:20:12 AM PST
To enthusiasts like Vito Larusso, they are the thoroughbreds of the sky, racing pigeons that can find their way home from hundreds of miles away. Larusso keeps his birds in Greenwich but wants to build a coop in his son's backyard in the village of Mamaroneck.

Margorie and Frank Viola, not only live next door, they are distant relatives of the Larussos. Nevertheless, they started a petition to keep the coop out for a number of reasons.

Larusso's request to build an eight foot by 16-foot shed was rejected by the village's buildings department. The 72-year old has now hired a lawyer who is seeking a permit based on the claim that pigeons are pets, no different from birds like parakeets or cockatiels.

Larusso is seeking to house about a dozen birds in the coop. He says the pigeons, which can sell for thousands of dollars, pose no health threat because they are vaccinated.

However, neighbors remain suspicious.

"He's going to start with 12. He's going to breed them," said Marjorie Viola.

The village board is expected to decide the matter at a hearing next month. However, the case may end up in state supreme court.

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