Ramsey couple looks to resolve bird feeder fine

June 26, 2013 5:30:51 AM PDT
A New Jersey couple facing a fine after neighbors complained that their bird feeder is attracting too many animals is seeking to resolve the issue out of court.

A judge in Ramsey on Tuesday set a Sept. 10 court date after their lawyer and the municipal prosecutor agreed to discuss the matter with the town's environmental specialist.

Alfred and Annette Rockefeller could be fined $250 to $500 for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding wildlife.

Alfred Rockefeller is disabled and the 77-year-old says feeding birds is one of his joys.

Numerous health issues, including a recent heart attack, have left him pretty much housebound. So his excitement is limited to watching nature feast in his backyard. The problem is that the neighbors hate it, saying the menagerie of birds and chipmunks and ducks are leaving what animals leave behind -- droppings and shells.

It's illegal to feed the wildlife, and only enclosed birdcages are allowed. And that is what the couple will argue, that they are enclosed bird cages from a bird catalogue.

A second offense could mean 19 days behind bars.

Animal Control officials say they don't want to send the couple to jail, they just want them to scale back the open smorgasbord and respect the balance of nature.

Town environmental specialist Leo Egan has said their wreath-style feeder filled with peanuts is attracting animals that are damaging neighbors' gardens.