When HOAs say 'stop feeding the birds,' there's a reason
HOA sues couple for $250K for feeding wildlife
I grit my teeth every time I walk out of my back door and see bread crumbs and crackers on the ground. I know who threw them. It’s the same tenant on the third floor who has been feeding the birds long before I moved in. Her landlord asked her to stop, and she did for a while—only to start again the next spring and summer.
I wouldn’t care about her feeding the birds except for the fact that I had five mice in the first two years of me buying my condo. I was losing my mind trying to figure out how the hell these rodents were getting into my home. I’ve always been a neat freak, and I am adamant about Sweeper Sundays (mopping, sweeping, polishing, dusting from top to bottom). Untidiness definitely wasn’t the issue. I checked openings under my sink, by all the pipes, on the floor, under the baseboard heaters, everywhere.
So how does someone who cleans this much end up with so many mice? It turns out the issue with my condominium was tuckpointing. Several of the bricks by the front and back doors had crumbled to the point where exterminators came to visit and could point out multiple spots where mice were chewing through. Exterminators sprayed outside, put traps inside and found one mouse dead in the wall before the sixth one could get to me. Then the tuckpointing crew came and fixed those areas. Voila! The mouse problem stopped.
But the one thing that the exterminators told me before they left each time was to try to make sure no food was left out around the building. Mice and rats would bypass their poison traps if they could just eat food out in open spaces. (And Chicago is the rattiest city in the United States for the seventh year in a row.)
Now imagine your condo board spending thousands to tuckpoint the building, getting rid of the mouse infestation problem (and risk of rats), only for your neighbor (with terrible aim) to fling a bunch of food that always ends up by your back door—the same back door where mice used to come in like they paid the mortgage. It’s exhausting. I’ve yet to complain. Still, it pisses me off.
For this reason alone, I’m having mixed opinions about the Lakeland Village Community Association and the Cypress couple being sued for $250K for feeding the ducks. For gardeners and neighboring homeowners, I know how much of a nuisance neighbors can be for feeding wildlife. As someone who had a major extermination issue, I sympathize even more. And as a past condo board member, I know that you voluntarily choose to take on each homeowner’s complaints. While a six-figure fine for feeding ducks feels like a bit much, I still lean toward the HOA. Here’s why.