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Crime

Unruly New Jersey couple could face fines over backyard bird feeder

Ramsey, NJ:

Alfred Rockefeller, 77, who is disabled and homebound, said feeding the birds is one of his few joys since he became confined to his Cobblestone Lane home two years ago.

But the borough's environmental health specialist, Leo Egan, said that the wire wreath-style feeder filled with peanuts hanging beside the couple's deck is not appropriate for birds.

"He stated emphatically that birds do not eat peanuts," said Rockefeller.

Now, the Rockefellers must appear in court Tuesday to answer the summons — issued on May 2 by borough police — which could result in a fine of $250 to $500.

Neighboring towns, including Allendale and Mahwah, say they have laws against feeding wildlife but summonses are uncommon.

The Rockefellers said they used to spread bird food on the ground, but borough officials visited their home and said that was not allowed. In response, they bought the hanging feeder last fall.

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