There has been a recent publication of a column in DEAR ABBY that contained some misinformation concerning White Dove Releases and the safety of the birds.  We appreciate that people are concerned about the well-being of white doves, but no one cares more for their well-being than their owners and the people that have raised and trained them to be the special performers that they are.  We want to assure the public the following:

  1. We release only well trained, well cared for WHITE DOVES from white racing pigeon stock. These are also known as Rock Doves or Columba livia.  These birds return home safely!  They love to fly and have been bred and trained to be used over and over.  Our birds live for up to 10 plus years, performing in many many releases over their lifetime.
  2. We release doves out-of-doors during daylight hours and never release birds if the conditions become unsafe due to weather or unforeseen circumstances. 
  3. We do not release birds beyond a range that they are able to safely fly.
  4. We use only well trained birds for releases.
  5. While birds are being held for display, we assure that they are in baskets that are large enough to be comfortable and safe.  The baskets or cages will be kept in safe areas, not too hot or too cold.

There are other standards to which all agree.
We invite you to read them at the following page:
Professional Standards

We also invite you to visit one of the many members of our society and ask any questions that you may have about White Dove Releases.  Members will be happy to provide a tour of their loft so that you can meet the birds.  A white dove release is beautiful event! 

What a few of our members have said to
Dear Abby:

Thank you to all concerned about the safety of the Doves which were released in Honor of Pope Benedict XVI, at Yankee Stadium on April 20, 2008. Just like any other athlete, The birds are well trained, and have a good diet, and a happy home. This insures that all our birds are healthy enough and have the ability for a safe trip home. They are snow white rock Doves, (Better known) as Homing Pigeons. These birds were released and had to fly 60 air miles to come home to their loft, and were back home "safely" in 55 minutes. We train our birds up to 100 miles. Our birds are part of our family and are treated and respected in the same way. Thank you for looking up! Philomena, I Dove New York
Dear Abby.
I am responding to your column with the big bold letters "Dove release not humane way to celebrate weddings".
I have been in business for 14 years and I do these white dove releases at weddings, funerals and all types of special event's.  The attachment to this e-mail explains what we do at weddings.  The birds that we use are actually a pure white "homing pigeon".  Pigeons are a dove in the same way that a Shetland pony is a horse.

Shame on you and someone who cares for publishing an article like this without doing all of the legwork and also shame on the docent at the local zoo that you checked with. These birds are raised trained and they love to fly.  They return to my home after every event.  You can visit the website for further information. 

To use the type of doves that you're referring to that you would find at a pet store is extremely cruel.  But to say that all dove releases will end with the bird's death is an absolute error.  I go to great lengths to maintain the health of my flock, and to train my birds properly.  You can also visit my website.

Wedding season is fast approaching and there is absolutely no better way to create a memory that will last everybody in attendance.  A lifetime than by doing a white dove release.  Always, always, always use a professional white dove release service.  I have included all of my contact information, and I would welcome a phone call or a visit.  I maintain an open door policy, because I want people to see how my birds are cared for, any time you you can use animals for monetary gain there are some who are a little less than ethical, but I would have to say most of the people doing white dove releases care for their birds above all other considerations.  With my white doves I raised approximately $30-$40000 a year for charitable events.  I bring comfort to a grieving family at a funeral and I create a spectacular memory at weddings.

We do dove releases at Easter sunrise services, birthdays and anniversaries grand openings, groundbreaking ceremonies, baby christenings family reunions and many other types of events.  I hope you will take what I have shared in his e-mail and the information in the attachment and print a response that is a little more responsible and not detrimental to those of us who do this professionally.  This is my full-time living this is how I pay my bills.  I cannot stress enough how well my birds are cared for.

I am surprised that the person you spoke to at the zoo did not give you this information.  I know at the Denver, Colorado zoo.  They do dove releases as part of their bird exhibits.  I am a member of the American racing pigeon union.  Please visit for more information on pigeons.  I am a member of the Denver Audubon Society. I am a past member of the American dove Association.  And you can also check with the Better Business Bureau on my business.  Respectfully, Tom Loux White Birds Unlimited, Inc. 5324 Alkire Street, Arvada, CO 80002-1716

My first letter to Dear Abby!!!!   there is always a bad egg giving everyone else a bum rap.  Hopefully enough of us will write that she will rethink her position and will in fact look at our websites for clarification!  Joanne

I emailed Dear Abby this morning.    I also wrote the information that is on our  website about Self-Releasing that explains about our Rock Doves that are used for releases.  I also believe that all of us in the dove release business should only use White Rock Doves for display in a cage even if we are not releasing them.  Ring Necks do look much different than a Rock Dove.  Some businesses use ring necks for display.   I feel all our Doves that we use for  bookings should be the true White Homing Pigeon or Rock Dove.  That way no one can dispute what dove we are dealing with.    Keep us informed if Dear Abby corrects her article.    It is sad that people don't research before they speak.  That is why I don't read Dear Abby.  Hopefully Dear Abby will write about the correct information on White Dove Releases and the doves we use.   Shirley Eller     Jon's Doves in flight

Just wanted to let you know that I typed a response to Dear Abby and I hope she and the "Dear Someone" (who are terribly (both she/he and  Abby) uninformed!)  get the message.  I was not mean or belligerent.   But I did point them to the code of ethics page on your website. I just let them know the facts between true doves and white racing homers, etc......Take care!  Hoagy, Indiana

I e-mailed Abby  but pointed out that we use racing pigeons which are trained to return to a loft. Some people buy white ringneck doves to release themselves at an event which is unethical and cruel to the birds.   Nancy Mabrey Ohio

Just wanted to let you know that I wrote to Dear Abby as you requested.  I told her that the Orangevale, CA., writer must be misinformed.   I informed Abby that the doves released at weddings are actually white homing pigeons and that they have no problem flying home.  Further, that the birds are well cared for, after all, the birds earn money for the owner/handler.  I then referred her to the white dove society website.  I signed off as follows:  Julian Shiroma, Treasurer, Kona Racing Pigeon Club & White Dove Release Owner/Handler, 82-1004 Kalamalani Place, Captain Cook, HI 96704

I hv sent a note to dear abby.  I hope it sorts them out.  Fondest Regards, Shayne Botha, Johannesburg, South AFrica

Doesn't it make you mad when people assume what we do instead of bother to read any of our websites? Lynne, UK
Sandra, I'm 110 % careful with my releases and some people try begging to hire me and willing to pay for my services but the problem is not in my area of release.  I still refer them to other vendor(s) or deny them because I have a great respect towards my special birds or doves.  This maybe some or few vendor(s) are violating the code of ethics and I read your response and we have the same opinion. Some vendor(s) are greedy and irresponsible.  We need to remind those or all vendors that they are dealing with special birds or doves ( A BIBLE BIRD ), a religious animal, A LIVING THING THAT NEEDS TO BE RESPECTED. Mr. Hernandez
I sent Abby an informative and assertive note.  This article was poorly researched and she has the responsibility to make it right!  Hopefully she'll do some homework issue a detraction. Gary Addison, The Dove Loft, Caring for and training white ceremonial doves

 I has been brought to my attention that somebody is saying that the practice of releasing White Doves at special events should be stopped and that they face certain death. Well one thing is true we all face certain death at some time or other!  However, the correct birds released by professional handlers are trained Rock Doves that continue to return to their home every day living a long and happy life of 12 years or more. The peace that calms the tearful face of a grief stricken old man who has to bury his wife of 65 years, when he releases a dove (A Rock Dove.The joy of a young couple embarking on their new beginning together is powerful. The birds that bring this power have the freedom to go anywhere they want.  The birds happily choose to return to their home where every need they could possibly want to keep them healthy and comfortable is provided by their carer. Only professional dove handlers should provide this service. Out of ignorance a 'do it yourselfer' might release the wrong kind of bird. It is a sad fact that in every aspect of life, sometimes some people will do the wrong thing Warm Regards Lesley

I sent Dear Abby a nice note and offered to explain what we do and to assist her in any ways. Looks like she got some bad information. John Karnofel, Monterey Dove Release

Let us hope her response from professional and ethical white dove release companies is overwhelming and she quickly recants this HORRIBLE injustice she has done to us!  Maurene Bencal, Bencal Loft Texas White Dove Releases,

My wife has responded and let Abby know, in a nice way, that neither she nor her reader have a clue about what they are complaining about.  Frank B.
Thanks for the information. I guess someone had a bad Dove Release experience. I know for a fact, due to all the Thank you cards I receive that I have touch many lives with this service.Every week someone tells me I've been Bless or I Blessed their lives. At first I was set back a bit, but now I understand how positive and powerful a Dove Release can be.  In the 3 years I have been doing this I had 1 bad release. This lady's 9 year old son opened the basket to soon , at least she thought so. She started yelling at me and demanded her money back. The funeral home told me they would never call me again. I thought I was finish!! I went home and cried for hours. The next week I had the most releases I had all month and everyone sent me cards, letters, called me with Thank you, and one family sent me flowers.

This dove release business is a gift for you, me and others who really care about the birds and the symbolism associated with them. I never have and never will read Dear Abby. We wrote her back and I know a lot of AU members who did the same. I'm not mad at that stupid statement! not everyone understands the Grace of a Dove Release and for that reason I feel very sorry for both of them. I would loved for them both to come by and see how these birds are loved and cared for. I won't have to asked for an apology, it will be given. Keep the Doves flying,  Nancy
In response to your reader who disliked white dove releases (You agreed) Doves were used in WWII, saved countless lives, and some received medals. I release them at funerals. Rather than the last thought of your dearly departed being buried in the cold cold ground, you see one of the most graceful of God's creations flying into the boundless sky. Usually, a member of the family will like to hand releases a bird. This gives closure in a tangible way. The last release I did, the five birds were home (20 miles) BEFORE I was. They jump back into their coop to eat and drink and be safe from predators. I am very disappointed in your rapid agreement to the writer, and wish you would take the time to research a topic rather than grabbing the nearest tree to hug it like they are most likely doing. now.