Bylaw officer attacked as peacock tensions rise in Surrey
Published Tuesday, June 5, 2018 11:27AM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 5, 2018 7:15PM PDT
Police are investigating after a bylaw officer was allegedly assaulted Monday afternoon in the Surrey, B.C. neighbourhood where dozens of resident peacocks have created a rift the community.
City officials said the bylaw officer was called to Sullivan Heights around 6:30 p.m. with a report that a homeowner was feeding the feral peafowl.
"Upon his investigation he was assaulted by the homeowner and subsequently had to call for police backup," said Jas Rehal, Surrey's public safety manager.
"He's really shaken up. It's quite a traumatic experience being attacked on someone's property."
Surrey RCMP confirmed that officers attended the scene and arrested one man, who has since been released without charges as investigators continue looking into what happened.
"It would be premature to comment on whether or not the person will face charges," Cpl. Elenore Sturko told CTV News.
There's a feeding trough in the man's backyard, and a cage that neighbours say he uses to keep the birds warm in winter. Some are hoping the alleged assault will prompt the city to finally do something about the peacocks.
Monday's incident is just the latest in a string of peacock-related incidents that have ruffled feathers in Sullivan Heights, where some residents embrace the colourful birds but others are increasingly frustrated with them.
Last month, a homeowner was fined $1,000 for illegally downing a tree where peacocks had been nesting for more than a decade. The birds have also been the subject of noise complaints and even blamed for property damage in the neighbourhood.
Residents said the birds have been fighting their own reflections in their cars, inflicting thousands of dollars' in damage by scratching the vehicles with their talons.
"It's a very intense situation on all sides," Rehal said. "The community is definitely divided on this issue. This (assault) today shows that again."
The City of Surrey is continuing to consult with residents as it determines how best to deal with the peacock problem. In the meantime, Rehal strongly urged people not to feed the wildlife.
"Feeding them is not good. We've sent out letters to that whole neighbourhood not to feed the peacocks. It's not permitted. There is a fine. It's not something we allow," he said.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson
This is the feeding trough in the backyard of a Sullivan Heights home that was visited by city bylaws yesterday, because feeding wild peacocks is illegal. The property owner was arrested for allegedly assaulting the bylaw officer. pic.twitter.com/KgjZe8NCux— Shannon Paterson (@ctv_shannon) June 5, 2018