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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Ocala resident asks city council for path forward to keep pigeons

A resident of northwest Ocala is hoping the city will make an exception for his pet pigeons after he was instructed he could no longer keep them.

During the July 20 meeting of the Ocala City Council, Ocala resident Carlos Mendez asked the council to change a city ordinance to allow for pigeons, which he says he has been raising as pets for years. Mendez says that he was notified that he could no longer have pigeons at his property. 

In June 2019, Ocala City Council members approved an ordinance that allows chickens to be raised on Ocala properties designated as single-family homes. As part of the ordinance, residents are not be able to house male chickens, roosters, or other poultry. 

During Tuesday’s meeting, Ocala Growth Management Director Tye Chighizola confirmed that the ordinance specifically denies pigeons. 

After Mendez spoke about his desire to keep the pigeons as pets, Ocala City Council member Ire Bethea said he had received complaints from neighbors about the pigeons.

“He has 20 or 30 pigeons,” said Bethea, who cited calls from “four or five” of Mendez’s neighbors. 

Ocala City Council President Justin Grabelle said the matter was one that merited further discussion.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it, so I don’t mind hearing more,” said Grabelle.