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Hunt Is on for S.F. Pigeon Killer

April 21, 1998

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The hunt is on to find out what or who is killing the pigeons of San Francisco.

About 40 of the often-disparaged ``flying rats″ turned up dead Monday, starting with the early-morning discovery of the first body, near Union Square.

``At first I thought it was shot,″ said street sweeper Jack McGann. ``But then I found the other three, and that many dead pigeons points to poison.″

``One of my officers saw one pigeon literally fall from the sky,″ said Capt. Vicky Guldbech of the Department of Animal Care and Control. ``This is very, very odd. We’ve really seen nothing like this before.″

A few minutes later, 15 more bodies were found in Union Square. Police were notified, and several showed up to investigate the deaths. Small shrouds were placed over the remains.

Later in the morning, 10 more bodes were found several miles away, and another 10 turned up dead in another part of town.

Gudbach said there were no obvious signs of foul play, and suggested disease or toxic plants might be to blame. The birds were to be examined Tuesday.

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