Black vultures causing havoc in downtown Newport

Black vultures causing havoc in downtown Newport

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People in Newport can't figure out how to get rid of the vultures in the area. People in Newport can't figure out how to get rid of the vultures in the area.
"The roof is really expensive," said Cocke County Mayor Vaughn Moore. "If they keep doing that, it could turn into quite a bit of money." "The roof is really expensive," said Cocke County Mayor Vaughn Moore. "If they keep doing that, it could turn into quite a bit of money."
"You can't get rid of them. You can relocate and usually to the property next door," said Newport Interim City Administrator James Finchum. "You can't get rid of them. You can relocate and usually to the property next door," said Newport Interim City Administrator James Finchum.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

NEWPORT (WATE) - Some unwanted visitors are causing some major headaches for people in Cocke County.

The visitors are black vultures and they have caused several thousand dollars worth of property damage in downtown Newport.

City and county officials have tried several methods to get them to move on, but the birds haven't budged.

The birds have been making their home along the Pigeon River in downtown Newport for several years now.

"The first time we really started to have a problem with them was when they started getting on the roof on the annex," explained Cocke County Mayor Vaughn Moore.

Mayor Moore showed 6 News inside the courthouse annex where the vultures pecked through the roof, causing it to leak.

"The roof is really expensive," said Mayor Moore. "If they keep doing that, it could turn into quite a bit of money."

Along with damage to the courthouse annex, the vultures have also damaged cars. The birds will eat about anything including rubber and plastic.

"We had a nest of Canadian Geese and they wanted the eggs, so they were over here trying to get the mother goose to move so they could get the eggs," said Cocke County resident Dianne Roscoe.

County and city officials are also worried the vultures will keep people from visiting Newport's new boardwalk.

"It certainly wouldn't be an attraction for the boardwalk," said Mayor Moore.

City officials have tried several methods to get them to move on.

"We have tried the flash bangs, which is something that looks like a shotgun shell and you shoot it from a shotgun," said Newport Interim City Administrator James Finchum.

It's illegal to kill black vultures since they are federally protected, but the USDA does allow people to get permits to kill a certain number.

For the past two years, the Newport Police Department have killed some of the birds, but it hasn't solved the problem.

They also tried to hang one of the dead vultures where the others roost, another recommended method to get the birds to leave, with no luck.

"Basically that's what we find, you can't get rid of them. You can relocate and usually to the property next door," said Finchum.

For now, they are open to suggestions and hope one day these black vultures will find a new place to call home.

USDA officials tell us if people want to protect their vehicles, the only option is to get a car cover.

Some business owners downtown have added motion sensitive water sprinklers to their roofs to scare the birds away.

Black vultures are scavengers and usually only feed on dead animals.

If you would like to get a permit from the USDA to kill vultures or learn more information on how to prevent damage, you can call USDA District Supervisor Keith Blanton at 865-588-0299.

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