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Man pleads no contest to feeding pigeons near Burbank airport

September 10, 2012 | 10:04 pm

The case against the 60-year-old man accused of causing a flight hazard near Burbank's Bob Hope Airport by feeding a growing flock of pigeons may be dismissed if he remains out of trouble for six months, his lawyer said Monday.

Charles Douglas of Glendale pleaded no contest Aug. 31 to one count of public nuisance, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records. A judge will revisit Douglas’ case Feb. 28, when the charge could be dismissed if he stays out of trouble, his attorney, Donald Ingalls, told the Burbank Leader.

The decision to go with the deal, Ingalls said, wasn't made because Douglas is guilty but because the cost of going to trial was too high for his client.

“He is not guilty,” Ingalls said. “It was a matter of economics.”

Still, if Douglas feeds any birds on or within 100 yards of his property, he could face a maximum sentence of six months in jail and may have to pay a fine of $1,000, Burbank Asst. City Atty. Denny Wei said.

Ingalls contends an airport officer wrongly accused Douglas of feeding the birds when he spotted him with a cup in his hand and noticed seeds about 75 to 80 feet from his business.

Ingalls said Douglas allowed the officer to search his property and vehicles for bird seed and found none. As a result, Douglas has installed a 24-hour surveillance system around his business on Hollywood Way to ensure that he is not again accused of feeding pigeons, Ingalls added.

But airport authorities said Douglas had been feeding and attracting a large flock of pigeons since September 2010, violating Burbank municipal code.

Douglas was convicted in 2010 and 2011 for violating the code, according to court records.

Soon after authorities stepped in and forbade Douglas from feeding the pigeons, Bob Hope Airport spokesman Victor Gill said that was the “beginning and the end of the problem for us." 

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-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

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