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Make a call if neighbors keep chickens, pigeons
By Xu Chi

SHANGHAI residents should tell authorities if their neighbors are raising chickens or pigeons, health officials said yesterday.

The families involved will be checked to see if they are infected with the bird flu virus and disinfection work will be carried out, an official with health hotline 12320 said.

Residents should report cases to their neighborhood committee or via the hotline, he said.

The move follows concerns expressed by some city residents.

A woman surnamed Yang in suburban Minhang District said pigeons raised by neighbors would often perch on her balcony.

"It was quite fine for me before to see the pigeons flying around my home. But now as we are all worried about catching the deadly H7N9 bird flu, I hope that someone can remove the pigeons for our safety," said Yang.

A resident surnamed Shan in the Pudong New Area said his life had long been "plagued" by the chickens his neighbor raised.

"In the hot summer days, the air is filled with stink from the chicken and their feathers," Shan said.

He said he had complained to the neighborhood committee and even the police, but nothing had happened.

A police officer told him there was no law banning residents from raising chickens or other poultry at home.

The hotline official said that, under the law, health officials couldn't confiscate poultry if it was found safe from the virus.

"They can only encourage or persuade families to remove the poultry for the safety of themselves and others. If they refuse to do so, those families will be guided to do daily disinfection works to prevent the bird flu," the official said.

Residents found illegally raising carrier or racing pigeons without a license, however, face being fined, he added.

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