A pensioner has copped a hefty fine after a neighbourhood stoush over him feeding birds in his front yard ended up in court.
Brad Martell suffers from anxiety and depression, and says his “happy place” is the front yard of his home in the Melbourne suburb of Highett, where he enjoys feeding bread to his feathered friends.
It is something he has done for two decades, but everything changed when new neighbours moved in.
“I’ve been there for 20 years, feeding them for 20 years, and how long have the neighbours been there? Twelve months,” Mr Martell said.
“And when did the problem arise? Twelve months ago.”
Bayside City Council charged Mr Martell with illegally feeding wild animals.
His neighbours told council officers the influx of birds was causing a mess in their yard.
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Mr Martell pleaded guilty on Tuesday at the Moorabbin Magistrates Court and was fined $550.
He says he will now start campaigning to have the law that landed him in court abolished, describing his court appearance as “a waste of ratepayers’ money”.
“We’ve hardly got any bus stops around Highett Station because they can’t afford to do it but they wanna bust me,” Mr Martell said.
He would not say if his bird-feeding days are over, but has encouraged other Bayside residents to pick up the slack.
“The enjoyment most people get from just throwing a few breadcrumbs out the back door with bread they have left over and watching them gather around to eat it – you can’t take that away from people,” Mr Martell said.