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July 13, 2010 - 3:26pm

County Board of Health gives Latina's gulls a clean bill of health

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, health department, Latina's.

BATAVIA, NY -- The gulls roosting atop Latina's may be noisy, stinky and prone to poop on anything and everything, but they are not a public health hazard, according to the County Board of Health.

latinas_condemned02.jpgBoard President Mary J. McJury notified BID Director Don Burkel of the board's finding in a July 7 letter.

"Although the Board of Health empathizes with the current situation, it was the board's determination, following careful review of the investigation, that this situation does not constitute a public health nuisance."

The Latina's building was condemned last week by the city for allegedly unsanitary conditions.

LKLWL Properties, the building's owner, has been summoned to City Court on July 23 to answer a complaint by the city that the company has failed to deal with unsanitary conditions on the property.

In her letter, McJury notes that the Herring Gulls are attracted to the Latina's roof because it is flat, warm and protected from harassment and predation.

"It is a short flight for them to feeding opportunities in the agricultural land surrounding the city," she wrote. "They are omnivores and eat anything from garbage to berries."

She said the actual issue with the property appears "to be property maintenance and aesthetic in nature."

She notes that the New York Department of Health issued a report finding no negative human health issues associated with Herring Gull populations.

Also, to date, there have been no reports of illnesses related to Batavia's gull infestation.

dennis wight
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Did the city jump the gun in condemning this property? "The Latina's building was condemned last week by the City for alleged unsanitary conditions." "New York Department of Health issued a report finding no negative human health issues associated with Herring Gull populations." "the actual issue with the property appears "to be property maintenance and aesthetic in nature."
Howard B. Owens
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It's hard to believe all that bird poop isn't unsanitary at some level. It probably comes down to how humans come into contact with it. As a sanitary issue, is it really desirable to have that population on top of that roof in the heart of downtown? This letter wouldn't be the last word on the issue. If the prosecution could produce an expert who could credibility say there is some likelihood of a health issue, then the defense would have to rebutt that. All I'm saying, it's not over.
George Richardson
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"It is a short flight for them to feeding opportunities in the agricultural land surround the city," I explained all of this before, five country boys, five shotguns. $2 for a seagull pot pie bounty and the problem is history. Someone with community spirit needs to whisper about the potential for easy money, be sure to whisper and then pay up as the problem slowly vanishes. A thousand dollars will cover everything, if people are tight lipped and discreet. Don't you guys kill Cockroaches in Batavia? The smart ones will haul ass and you'll never see them again. I'm just talking from first hand experience over 50 years ago. I don't lie, much, except about political matters. Make it happen and don't tell anybody. 'K?
Autumn Connolly
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You can't kill the birds because you don't like were they poop. If the building is tore down they will just move to another flat top roof and poop there. Something should be done to the building because it is just taking up space. Hey maybe they should just put in another coffee shop to add to the other 5 they already have in the area.
Charlie Mallow
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Bea, so was I making light of a dangerous situation or were you just making a big deal about the migration habits of an animal that has lived in harmony with humans since the beginning of recorded time? Just checking.....
Bea McManis
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Charlie, Your lack of compassion for the plight of those who live and work in that area is no surprise. Regardless of the migratory habits of the gulls, it was disconcerting that you would find humor in and minimize the concern of those who have to duck and weave to avoid the bird droppings and suffer the stench. Gloating that you were "right" doesn't change the fact that the owner of this property is ignoring his responsibility to the community you once represented.
Bryant Tyson
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With the amount of gulls at most beaches and people laying in the sand swimming in the water and eating around all that poo. If there was a real health issue you would think we would know about it by now.
Charlie Mallow
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Bea, the fact is you tried to make where a bird craps political. You called me out and asked what was done on "my watch" about the birds. I don't care for bird crap either but, it's a fact of life on our planet. I also do not like people who look to the government for a solution for every problem they have and call for it to act. There is no viable government program for bird crap.
bud prevost
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Charlie said "There is no viable government program for bird crap." But there are many programs full of bullshit :)
Bea McManis
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Whatever, Charlie. Keep needling. Your "watch" was not meant to be political. It was asked in terms of what, if anything, was discussed while you were in office. You made the political digs, I didn't. Frankly, right now, the last thing I need is fabricated drama. Go find it somewhere else.
C. M. Barons
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The birds chose their current location for two reasons: food and nesting opportunities. To get rid of them, they must be deprived of same. People need to stop providing food for the gulls. It shouldn't be too difficult to track the gulls' food sources and shut them down. As to nesting, according to a UK article, replacing the gulls' eggs with plastic egg-replicas reduces multiple nuisance behavior problems.
Elizabeth Downie
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Now children, if you can't all get along, you will each be sent to your separate corners. LOL! Why don't they just put up fake owl statues like they did at the Batavia City Mall building (that is what it is called now, right)?? It worked there, why wouldn't it work here?
Howard B. Owens
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C.M., The most likely food sources are outside of the city. While I've heard of people feeding the gulls, it doesn't seem to be a common problem. And nothing can be done about the eggs without trespassing. The property owner will neither, apparently, do anything about the eggs/gulls, nor allow any other person/agency to take action. The is no shortage of options, but all are meaningless without the cooperation of the property owner.
Elizabeth Downie
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How about mounting the fake owl statues on the top of the light posts? The posts are city property, right? Well, if this gets shot down, I'm all out of ideas! LOL!
Angela Penkszyk
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What if someone were to decide to play a little golf in the parking lot, and perhaps by accident a couple hundred of those plastic eggs get shot up onto the roof... is that trespass? I know it works for chickens, give them a fake egg and they'll sit on it for months thinking it's real. Problem would be landing the eggs into their nests, although chickens are smart enough that they will roll the eggs all around till they get 'em right where they want 'em.
Howard B. Owens
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BTW: I got an e-mail this morning that there were three dead gulls in the parking lot. I didn't have time to go check it out.
Jill Turner
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I bet they got hit by a car they were in the way and no one stop for them to get out of the way just ran them over those gulls are way to friendly
Gabor Deutsch
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I usually grill on the weekends but I will take two please. http://thebatavian.com/blogs/geedavedee
Jason Murray
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have about a dozen "responsible" people spend a couple hours in the parking lot with air rifles and shoot as many gulls as they can. eventually problem solved
Jill Turner
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You can't shoot the gulls they are a non migratory so that means you have to get permission from a higher authority to have something done with those Ring billed gulls
Jeremiah Pedro
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I got an idea, that might be a win win for all parties involved. Well maybe but most likely not. The property owner leases the property to the county health department who makes the building their new headquarters. This way they can prove to the residents of the county that the gull poop really doesn't pose a health problem. What does everyone think.
paddy horgan
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I like that idea pedro
John Roach
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I like the idea also.

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