Rogue pigeon who flew from US to Australia will be KILLED after being branded a 'biosecurity risk' by tough Aussie gov
A FUGITIVE pigeon who is suspected of sneaking into the US on on board a cargo vessel is set to be EXECUTED.
Racing pigeon, Joe – who is named after the incoming President – disappeared from Oregon in the US around two months ago, before turning up in Officer, Melbourne.
He was found by Kevin Celli-Bird, looking "pretty emaciated" in his back garden.
Mr Celli-Bird said: "It rocked up at our place on Boxing Day.
"I've got a fountain in the backyard and it was having a drink and a wash.
"He was pretty emaciated so I crushed up a dry biscuit and left it out there for him."
After noticing a blue band around the pigeon's leg, Mr Celli-Bird decided to catch him and do some research.
He discovered the bird was registered to an owner in Montgomery, Alabama and the connection was confirmed by the Oklahoma-based American Racing Pigeon Union.
He had attempted to contact the owner, but had so far been unable to get through.
But after the amazing discovery hit the headlines, Mr Celli-Bird was contacted by Australia's strict agriculture officials.
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.
Mr Celli-Bird said the pigeon, an unusual sight where he lives, spends every day in his back garden.
He added: "Sometimes [he sits] side-by-side with a native dove on a pergola."
The Melbourne native has been feeding Joe with pigeon food ever since he discovered him.
He said: "I think that he just decided that since I've given him some food and he's got a spot to drink, that's home," he said.
The Agriculture Department asked Mr Celli-Bird if he could help capture the pigeon so he could be executed, but the racer has grown strong from the pigeon feed and can no longer be grabbed.
Instead, officials have called in a professional pigeon catcher.
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.
Faced with a 50-hour deadline to leave Australia, the dogs made it out in a chartered jet.
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