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CANNONS SCARE BIRDS, ANNOY HUMANS

HUDSON

A year ago, Barb Mishko bought a concrete stucco home in the Estates, a golf course neighborhood in northwest Pasco County.

Her back yard came with a view of the woods and a nearby blueberry farm. It sounded like the good life - until the cannons started booming.

To the anger of neighbors, Bob's Berry Farm fired propane-powered air cannons to shoo birds away from its 40,000 blueberry bushes east of U.S. 19. Swarms of tiny cedar waxwings fancy blueberries during the annual harvest from April to June.

At today's County Commission meeting in New Port Richey, the board will discuss drafting a law that would ban noise cannons from most areas of the county.

Only land designated for future agriculture use would be allowed to have noise cannons, according to Senior Assistant County Attorney Kristi Wooden's recommendation to commissioners. That would ban the cannon from at least seven blueberry farms in northwest Pasco, according to county officials.

To enforce the ban, however, the county also would have to show the farmers are not covered by the state Right to Farm Act, which generally bars local governments from imposing restrictions on farmers. Whether that act applies to specific properties would have to be decided farm by farm, according to Wooden's report.

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