Protecting peacocks | ‘Birdnappers’ allegedly targeting neighborhood, residents want it to stop

On Sunday, two people visited a northwest side neighborhood to catch peafowl, homeowners say.

SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio neighborhood known for its wild peacocks is being targeted by ‘birdnappers,’ residents say.

On Sunday, Leslie Word snapped a picture of two people pinning down a peacock on his neighbor’s property.

“My wife was getting ready to go to her sister’s house and we heard a commotion,” said Word. “[Peacocks] are social critters. It’s like you going in and snatching somebody’s child; people are going to cry. So, they were loud. We saw a young lady and a gentleman outside trying to catch the peacocks. They had netguns and we were asking, ‘What are you doing? Why are you here?’ They said, ‘Oh, we have a permit.’ She never showed any permit.”

A spokesperson for Animal Control Services (ACS) says the City of San Antonio does not grant permits to remove wildlife from neighborhoods.

According to Word, the alleged birdnappers made off with one peacock. Whether they planned to sell it, kill it, or give it a new home, he says it’s cruel.

“You don’t go into people’s neighborhoods and grab people, that’s called slavery,” said Word. “These animals were meant to be free otherwise they would not be here; the city would have scooped them up and taken them away. They have been grandfathered into the community and [roost] in about a six-block area.”

Mark says he has lived in the neighborhood for about 50 years.

“These peacocks have been living here as long as I can remember,” said Mark. “I’ve seen people take them. Most of [the birdnappers] don’t know they are protected by the city. People actually went to court and the judge said they can’t just be removed.”   

Homeowners told KENS 5 they don’t mind visitors admiring the beautiful birds from a distance.

“Don’t harass them, don’t abuse them, don’t do other things,” Word said.

According to city law, it is illegal to inhumanely trap and otherwise abuse peacocks. The city also discourages people from humanely trapping peacocks even with a property owner’s permission. The ordinance prohibits people from selling peacocks in a public place. 

If you suspect someone of cruel treatment call 311. If you come across an injured bird, call the wildlife rescue at 830-336-2725.

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