Police are investigating after an alleged assault on a bylaw officer Monday while the city was following up on a complaint that someone had been feeding peacocks in a suburban Surrey neighbourhood that’s become home to a number of birds.
“Our bylaw officer was assaulted at the house,” Surrey’s bylaw manager Jas Rehal said in a message Tuesday.
“He is shaken up but otherwise fine.”
When asked if the person was fined by the city for feeding the birds, Rehal said: “It ended with that incident. [Bylaw] officers will reassess today and take the appropriate action.”
The incident happened at approximately 6:30 p.m. on June 4, in the 6200-block of 150th Street.
Surrey RCMP say a man was arrested at the scene and has since been released without charges while the investigation continues.
“We are currently investigating an assault on a Peace Officer,” said Surrey RCMP Corporal Elenore Sturko.
Locals reported seeing up to seven RCMP cruisers at the scene, as well as a fire truck, ambulance and a helicopter flying above.
This comes just days after some residents complained the peacocks were damaging vehicles.
“The most recent thing we’re seeing now is the peafowl attacking cars,” said local Ryan Cragg, adding it’s suspected the birds usually cause damage to dark vehicles because they can see their reflection in those colours, which they mistake for another male during mating season.
“They’ll stare at the car for a couple of hours, they have to work up the nerve,” Cragg said, estimating there could be up to 150 of the birds in the area. “They’re doing some real damage.”
Cragg urged to city to move the birds out of the residential area, and to crack down on someone who is apparently acting as a “caretaker” for them.
“This has gone on for a very long time. It’s only getting worse,” Cragg stressed. “At this point, with the numbers involved, just stopping a person from feeding them won’t be enough. It’ll be cruel to the peacocks because once we stop feeding them — and we have to stop — the area there won’t be able to support that many peacocks which means they’re going to move out of the area. They’re going to go elsewhere, so this is going to become a bigger problem.
“The only solution now, while they’re all in one spot, is to catch them all and get them out of Surrey.”
The birds also made headlines earlier this year after a homeowner illegally cut down a tree that served as a home to many of the area’s peacocks.
In May, Parm Brar told the Now-Leader he cut down the tree because he felt he was of options after pleading for three years with the city to do something about the birds.
“I can see people getting upset if I haven’t tried anything, if I just went and cut it down, then I’m totally guilty,” said Brar at the time. “But if I tried for three years? I have videos, I have the city emails.”
Brar said dozens of birds came to the tree every night, leaving massive amounts of feces around his yard and in his gutters. He also says they made loud calls at all hours of the night.
“My kids can’t use the backyard,” he said, adding his elderly father slipped on their feces and injured himself.
As peacocks continue to ruffle feathers in Sullivan Heights, the city is looking to other municipalities for a possible solution, including Florida and Hawaii.
But the city says no decisions will be made about what to do with the birds until after a public meeting. Initially, the city said the meeting would be in late May but Rehal said it’s now expected in early July, after the city finishes consulting with other municipalities.
“We need to engage with the community where they’re being impacted,” Rehal told the Now-Leader. “My sense is that the community is split. We need to get together and talk about what the issues are, what people are facing.”