Alfred Rockefeller, 77, said he and his wife, Annette, 66, put up the hanging bird feeder last year after Ramsey borough officials told them they could not spread birdseed on the ground, The Record of Hackensack, N.J., reported Monday.
However, the couple said they received a summons bearing Annette's name and dated May 2 ordering her to appear in court Tuesday on a charge of feeding wildlife, which can carry a charge of $250 to $500.
The borough contends complaints have been lodged by multiple neighbors about the feeder attracting deer, ducks, squirrels and other animals to the area. The couple said Leo Egan, the borough's environmental health specialist, told them the wire wreath-style feeder contains peanuts, which are not appropriate for birds.
"He stated emphatically that birds do not eat peanuts," Alfred Rockefeller said of Egan.
"I feel like we're getting picked on over here," Annette Rockefeller said. "To me it's like, what's going to be next? I'm going to be walking around my yard in shorts and be told I'm ugly and bringing down property values."
Egan said the bird feeder was causing numerous complaints.
"There were a lot of animals ... being attracted," Egan said. "The animals don't recognize the yard line between one house and another. There was spillover, and other neighbors had damage to their gardens from the animals. They were putting in expensive plantings and getting them decimated."