Hospital employees upset by alleged method of pigeon pest control

BRIDGETON, Mo. - SSM Health DePaul Hospital has been trying to keep the disease-carrying pigeons away from its property, but they refuse to fly away. So the hospital hired Presto-X to remove them in the most humane way.

“Since they aren’t a native species, indigenous to Missouri, there is no regulation,” conservationist Dan Zarlenga said.

That means there isn’t a wrong way to get rid of them. However, hospital employees contacted Fox 2/KPLR 11 after witnessing a pest control employee drown the pigeons in water.

“We definitely recommend that whatever method is used to deal with them, that people do it in a humane manner for ethical reasons,” Zarlenga said.

Since there are no standard procedures for handling pigeons, Fox 2 reached out to another company to learn industry practices. Up until recently, many pest control companies used buckets of water when hired to catch and kill them. However, many are now starting to use more humane practices.

“It’s unfortunate to have any lethal method to control animals, so if that’s necessity by the situation, certainly doing it in the most humane way possible is what we would endorse,” Zarlenga said.

The hospital released the following statement on the matter:

“We received a complaint from an employee, the company denies the allegation. I think the key is that our express instructions were and are to capture and release the birds and to do them no harm. We do not want them ‘disposed of.’ We want them unharmed and released. BTW, while we have no evidence that he did this, we have asked that the technician accused of harming a bird not return to our campus.”

Meanwhile, Presto-X released a statement denying the action:

“Presto-X is a leader in its conscious approach to bird management. Because of the numerous diseases spread by birds, their droppings, and shed feathers; pest prevention and bird management are critical components of a comprehensive public health and safety strategy. Pigeons, in particular, can transmit over 60 diseases with some having devastating, life-long effects on humans. In this instance, pigeons were captured humanely and transported offsite for release in accordance with local and state regulations.”