Racing pigeon from Oregon shows up in Australia, and now faces a death sentence

A racing pigeon recently showed up in the backyard of someone's house in Australia, looking super worn out. The owner of the home fed it, and discovered that it had an identification leg-band.

Turns out the bird was owned by someone in Alabama, and had disappeared during an Oct. 29 pigeon race in Oregon.

Did it … fly across the ocean? Probably not: Pigeon experts suspect it stowed away on a cargo ship. Pretty remarkable journey either way!

But, it turns out carpetbagging pigeons from Oregon violate the animal-import laws of Australia, and authorities are probably going to have to kill the pigeon:

The Agriculture Department, which is responsible for biosecurity, said the pigeon was "not permitted to remain in Australia" because it "could compromise Australia's food security and our wild bird populations."

"It poses a direct biosecurity risk to Australian bird life and our poultry industry," a department statement said.

In 2015, the government threatened to euthanize two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, after they were smuggled into the country by Hollywood star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard. [snip]

Turner said there were genuine fears pigeons from the United States could carry exotic diseases and he agreed Joe should be destroyed.

"While it sounds harsh to the normal person — they'd hear that and go: 'this is cruel,' and everything else — I'd think you'd find that A.Q.I.S. and those sort of people would give their wholehearted support for the idea," Turner said, referring to the quarantine service.

(That photo above is not of the lost pigeon — it's a just a rando, but is CC-4.0 licensed via Wikimedia.)