A pigeon in Reno, Nevada, was spotted with a tiny sombrero on its head, just one month after multiple pigeons in Las Vegas were seen wearing small cowboy hats. But city officials aren’t laughing.
Reno’s City Manager Sabra Newby was the first to spot the bird, and posted two photos of it on her Twitter account, according to ABC News. City officials and animal welfare activists in both Las Vegas and Reno have warned residents about the “inhumane” dangers of attaching the miniature hats to the pigeons.
According to the Associated Press, one of the pigeons in Las Vegas who had a small cowboy hat glued to its head died earlier this week.
“While quirky or fun, it’s still inhumane,” Newby told KOLO. “The birds suffered when this exact thing happened last year in Las Vegas. One of them recently died. We don’t want copycats.”
“Reno cares about our animals,” she added. “They need protection and don’t need to become a punchline.”
According to KOLO, Washoe County Regional Animal Services said the pigeon in a sombrero was the first known instance of hat-wearing birds in the Reno area, and officials asked residents to contact them if they see the bird again.
Shyanne Schull, the director of Washoe County Regional Animal Services, told ABC News in a statement: “Washoe County Regional Animal Services finds this practice of affixing any objects on wild birds disturbing, inhumane and strongly discourages this type of behavior … Should the community see this take place or have tips on who might be conducting this behavior, please call 775-322-3647 or 3-1-1 and we will investigate and work with appropriate authorities.”
It remains unclear who put the hats on the birds in Las Vegas and Reno, or whether the two incidents are related.
Last month, multiple pigeons were spotted in Las Vegas wearing cowboy hats, with footage online showing the birds moving around without the hats falling off.
Mariah Hillman, the co-founder of Lofty Hopes pigeon rescue, told Vice News at the time that she suspected the hats were adhered to the fowls’ heads with superglue.
“It has to be glue [keeping the hats on the birds’ heads]. I don’t see any string, so it has to be glue. That’s just dumb,” she said, according to the outlet.