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We started this rescue in 2007 because there was a strange and deadly gap in the animal welfare network. Shelters got in domestic (unreleasable) pigeons every week but, instead of providing them with the care and service that all the other shelter animals received, they were for the most part ignored until they were euthanized. Even in the best shelters, even in the ultra animal-friendly San Francisco Bay Area.
If they had any injury or illness, no matter how minor, they were euthanized rather than given vet care.
While other animals were named and photographed and promoted on the adopt-a-pet websites, the pigeons were not. No one even knew they were in need of homes and not surprisingly, they didn’t get adopted.
And while all the other animals brought to the shelters- the dogs and cats, rabbits and parrots, rodents and reptiles, wildlife and farmed animals- had at least one rescue dedicated to trying to save them, the pigeons did not.
This gap is especially strange when you consider not only how closely connected humans have been with pigeons and doves throughout our history but how common they are. Humans have been breeding and using them, for meat, as messengers, for sport, hobby and ceremony, for thousands of years.
Right here in the Bay Area, there are lots of pigeon racing clubs, fanciers and hobbyists breeding thousands of domestic birds they fly against the wild skies every year. But no one was rescuing the pigeons who predictably get lost or injured yet lucky enough to make it to a shelter.
And all of this is made even more surprising by how smart, gentle, charming and wonderful pigeons are as companions. They are easy to help! They don’t bite. They’re not destructive. They’re quiet and calm and make wonderful pets. They are domestic and unable to live in the wild.
When we started rescuing and rehoming these domestic pigeons and doves, we had to begin bridging this strange and fatal gap. We had to do something that wasn’t being done. We have a name for this work we do: We call it palomacy. Palomacy is pigeon diplomacy.
We believe that everyone deserves compassion, everyone deserves a chance. We advocate for pigeons and doves- all of them- wild and domestic, every day of the year. We know that pigeons are a gateway to compassion. While most of the thousands of people we meet may never see another domestic pigeon, all will encounter the Rock Pigeons who are somehow able to live their gentle lives on our mean streets. We speak up for these birds, we debunk the myths, we inspire compassion. Pigeons don't spread disease. Petting a dog or cat or eating meat poses greater risk of disease than pigeons do. Those hungry pigeons foraging for crumbs on our sidewalks are highly intelligent and emotional; they remember and recognize human faces; they mate for life; they can fly 55 mph. They deserve compassion- as we all do.
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