It’s happened again. Another seizure, another rescue in trouble. It’s easy for all of us to point fingers and make judgements. It’s wonderful to sit back with our two or three birds or whatever sized flock we can comfortably handle, proclaiming our disgust and feeling fear for the latest flock that was hauled away in beige boxes.
We somehow feel better that our houses are cleaner, our cages are relatively immaculate. We make snap judgements as to the intentions of the people who I truly think meant well. But then, somewhere along the line, something went wrong. Well, what happened? What went wrong? How did things get out of control? I don’t know. And you probably don’t know either.
The latest seizure was at Wings Over the Rainbow, (WOTR) a bird rescue located in Moraine, Ohio. Moraine is right outside of Dayton. Ohio again. Once again I don’t have the entire story. Once again, I’ll probably never really know how things went down and how it all fell apart. Here is the story according to the Humane Society:
More than 100 Birds Rescued from Alleged Cruelty and Neglect in Ohio
There is a followup story claiming that WOTR is going to fight to get the birds back.
Bird Rescue Vows to Battle Back
Okay, that’s what is being reported. But what happened? How did it come down to this? In cases like this, we never really know. It’s like this dirty little secret that gets hauled out into the light of day for a brief moment so that reporters and newscasters can get their shots. The birds are shuttled off and that’s usually the last of the story unless there’s a fight in the courts or cruelty charges are made. What I want to know is, where did all of this begin?
Not quite a year ago, I wrote a post about the Troy, Ohio Birds, a hideous case of neglect that hit the papers and the internet like a feathered tsunami. The case got convoluted and to this day, I have absolutely no idea whatever happened in the end. I get different stories and different opinions, but I never did find out out what happened at the end of the pageant. I don’t know what happened to the Miami Valley Bird Club, their rescue efforts or the disposition of the case.
I did a little digging around and with a little help from some highly respected people in the field, I got some answers as to what this hoarding and neglect deal is all about.
It’s sometimes called Institutional Hoarding. Someone decides they want to run a rescue. They do the proper things, (or not) getting registered with a 501(c)3 non-profit status, (or not) slap up a website, (or not) and they’re in business. Good intentions. Well meaning. They want to save the animals.
Jezebelle Francesca, my friend Sandy’s adopted dog
Now if you think about it, the people who get into this have probably seen their share of neglect and abuse already or they wouldn’t be getting into the field. This of course gives them a bad opinion of human beings in general. After seeing some of the situations dogs, cats and birds are put in, one can’t help but have a low opinion of some people.
However, in order to run an adoption and rescue, you have to put this aside and trust that there are people out there who can provide a good home. I mean, isn’t that the entire point of the adoption and rescue? To place animals in suitable homes? This is where it gets crappy. Some rescues have standards that are simply too high and they have too many conditions potential families have to meet in order to qualify.
It’s as if the rescue is trying to find reasons not to place their charges. They simply make it too difficult to adopt. And of course this defeats the entire purpose. A family wants a cat or dog or bird and they have to endure the Spanish Inquisition in order to adopt. Many people will end up “failing” the third degree they are put through.
So what does the family do? They buy from a breeder or a pet store. Don’t read me wrong. I’m big on screening and applications and qualifying. But good God, this is an animal that needs a home. Set aside the attachment and let the animal have a home for Christ’s sake! I know it’s hard, but that’s the job.
Jacque Johnson, the Manager of the Parrot Garden at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah has this to say about Institutional Hoarding:
Jacque Johnson of Best Friends Photo courtesy of Jacque Johnson
“People in animal rescue have hoarding tendencies. We have caregiving personalities and if we get in too deep, it is easy to let the heart overwhelm our heads and resources. Slowly, over time, we make consessions to husbandry, diet, and medical care that would never have been even considered previously. We “normalize” sub-standard care. Good rescues battle this tendency in themselves constantly. We are aware that we have limits and set them well in advance. We become adept at saying “no” even when our hearts want to say “yes.” And most of all, we battle the self-serving concept that no one else is able to care for our birds. Hoarders put up hoops for adopters to jump through that make it impossible for them to meet the expectations. We don’t want to send our kids into substandard situations, but we must never forget that a family is always better than a rescue. We are an orphanage…and we need to want to get our kids adopted.”
Charlie on the left with King O. Photo courtesy of Best Friends Parrot Garden
So the issue is that the very people who want to help, see the neglect, see the abuse and get gun-shy about placing these animals because they’re afraid it will happen again. I know of one Cockatoo that Best Friends had in residence while I was out there. The sweetest, cutest little girl. But she was a self-mutilator and had to wear a bib to keep from drilling into her own chest. Well, despite everyone’s personal feelings about Charlee and their attachment to her, she got a home. Charlee was adopted out because as Jacque says, “A family is always better than a rescue.” Everyone loved her but they set their personal feelings aside and Charlee went home. Now that’s how you run a rescue.
Apparently, in a hoarding situation, over time, standards are relaxed. A little bit, day-by-day, things get a little worse, a little messier. More animals are brought in, with no animals going out. It sneaks up on the person or institution. It doesn’t happen overnight. Things go from bad to worse, and the caregiver or team running the rodeo become completely overwhelmed and rundown. According to the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse (NCPAA) the type of hoarder is broken down into three categories: The Exploiter, The Rescue Hoarder and the Overwhelmed Caregiver. But what exactly is a hoarder? How do you define it? According to the NCPAA, it’s this:
“Someone who accumulates a large number of animals: Fails to provide minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation and veterinary care And fails to act on the deteriorating condition of the animals (including disease, starvation and even death) or the environment, (severe overcrowding, extremely unsanitary conditions) or the negative effect of the collection on their own heath and well-being and on that of other household members.”
–Dr. Gary Patronek in Public Health Reports (114), 1999
Photo courtesy of Marc Johnson and Foster Parrots Ltd.
And of course you have less financial support for bird rescues than other types of adoption and rescue organizations which only compounds the problem. Marc Johnson, Founder and self-professed “Janitor” of Foster Parrots in Rockland Mass. weighed in on the lack of funding and support for parrot adoption and rescues:
“The really sad thing is that the “parrot world” is not very supportive of the efforts of rescue and it is a hard job. Everyone should be grateful that there are people willing to step up and try to help the terrible situation parrots are in today. The HSUS should be supporting the people on the front lines of animal rescue, an underfunded war against captivity. I would be encouraging people to get in and help, not get in and tear down.”
So what’s the answer? I don’t have one. All I know is that when stuff like the Troy, Ohio case and the WOTR situation get in the news, it raises awareness. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s the wrong kind. Negative stuff makes us all look like morons.
But as it was said in one film about news reporting, “If it bleeds, it leads.” I realize that this story is far from over and just because it was in the news doesn’t make it true. There just might be a million mitigating circumstances that might have made this seizure completely unnecessary. I simply don’t know. All I can do is hope for the best for the birds, for WOTR and for the future.
May 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm
Several years ago, I had decided to start a parrot rescue. I began to research it, and even became a vet tech for the express purpose of understanding the medical issues parrots face. But after a year of research and planning and talking to people like Mark Foster, I decided that this was not the vocation for me. I do not have the money, the facilities or the time to do nothing but the hard work involved in caring for a vast number of parrots. I also knew that I would be unable to turn over a parrot to a family that did not totally meet my expectations. So, I decided to go a different route.
Now I run a parrot gift shop and I regularly run specials where I donate half my profits to rescues. And still I have trouble getting people to support it. I have a very hard time getting people to even share the link and tell others about it, much less actually purchase.
In over a year of running these specials I have only had TWO people take me up on it! I would think rescues and parrot lovers everywhere would jump at the chance to help them out in a painless way like this but I come up against resistance when it comes to even telling people how they can participate.
I don’t have a lot of money and I don’t live close to a parrot rescue, but I do what I can, when I can, and this is the best way I know I can help out rescues. If everyone would just do a little bit to help, whether it’s donating their time, labor, toys, money, or even buying from stores willing to help, parrot rescues would be able to take better care of their charges.
That, and learning to say “No” would benefit rescues more than anything else I can think of.
May 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm
Oops, I meant Mark Johnson (of Foster Parrots)
May 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm
Great article, very well said, made me rethink my first reaction to the news.
May 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm
While there are instances where the person or persons operating a “rescue” eventually become over whelmed and fail to ask for help, or do not want to ask for help, there are also instances where there are confiscations of perfectly fine birds or animals because the organization doing the seizure is going to benefit. How: three ways: they sell the animals (they call it adopt tho), they get donations from kind hearted people, and they get PR from the news media.
When any of the seized birds or animals are “not up to par” they generally euthanize them right away…so they don’t have to bother with them. The rest are warehoused, fed the wrong foods (finch food to macaws, etc.) mishandled during vetting (taking blood from the wing area and the healthy bird bleeds to death because of the procedure or putting dogs with puppies in a parvo diseased kennel), and stressed to the max.
Whatever happened to the way authorities USED to work…where the owner or manager was given a list of things to correct and a timeline for correction? This is no longer the case because of the “benefits” of seizing birds and animals, and we are talking about reptiles, rabbits, show cats, small dogs, and horses, even farm animals are being seized because they can provide “benefits” to the seizing agency. This isn’t about animal abuse OR animal welfare, it is about the almighty dollar and how to get more of it…along with great PR.
Meanwhile, the birds and animals suffer from the seizure…some are captured or mishandled during the process because the people doing the seizure have no idea as to how to collect a pig, or kennel a rabbit, or net a bird, or catch a horse…and these cases I am mentioning are DOCUMENTED as to the abuses the animals suffer during the seizures.
So, where is the greater wrong? The neglect on the part of the owner? Or the physical damage, including fatalities, that the seized birds and animals suffer?
May 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm
Patricia: that was a very sensible post on the situation.
A few photos have been released by the humane society. The sanctuary didn’t look ideal and I wouldn’t send a bird there. On the other hand, it didn’t look bad enough that the birds had to be seized immediately. It would have made sense for the humane society to help with clean up (some of the cage bottoms looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in some time), and help with changing the water and food dishes. Then they could get an avian vet to examine and treat the birds with infections or injuries. Then they could work from there to fix things up and help find good homes for many of the birds. I think all that could have been done without seizing the birds.
I have a bit more to say, but have to go.
May 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm
I am new to birdworld- 2 years- but I have done animal rescue for 40 years. I now only support/work with rescues that practice sustainability: don’t take in more than they you can handle. (Yes, there are exceptions. Like when someone dumps 100 puppymill puppies in your lap.) But if you are a rescue in CONSTANT STATE OF CRISIS for whatever reason, you end up transferring the victims- parrots, cats, dogs- on to another agency to deal with. People have their options, animals don’t.
And since this particular situation has been playing out IN PUBLIC on facebook, I am certain their will be endless lawsuits, people will be asked to take sides, etc. But money collected will go to benefit humans, not the parrot victims.
May 11, 2012 at 6:09 pm
I supported Wings Over the Rainbow until they took in Casey, a mollucan cockatoo, with severe health issues. To this day, I believe from Day One, Wings was preparing for his death, rather than trying to help him. He was fed canned sausage and other junk food. He was seen by a local vet who specialized in dogs and cats, not birds. People not only offered to PAY for a visit to the best avian vet in the state, but they even offered to drive Wings’ president and Casey to the vet. She refused because it was a two- or three-hour drive.
Anyone who offered advice or criticism was immediately unfriended and blocked. I was one of them when I wrote that feeding sausage was the wrong thing to do. She insisted that Casey should be fed whatever he wanted.
In the end, rather than using the hundreds of dollars in donations sent specifically for Casey, she still refused to bring him to a certified avian vet. Instead she relied on prayer. And Casey died.
She did not even have him necropsied.
To me, at this point it doesn’t matter what occured prior to Casey’s arrival or after Casey’s death. Casey was neglected. Pure and simple. So I am thrilled that all of the birds have been removed and I hope they are not returned.
May 14, 2012 at 12:05 am
You got angry when I told you I was tired of your negative posts and bully techniques and told you to get off our page. Itold you I didn’t want your kind of help. You told me I would be sorry. You told me you would shut us down. Do you really have that kind of power?
Casey saw a vet. That’s old news. Perhaps not the vet you think he should have seen. The vet he saw was trained in avian medicine. He also works with raptors for another local nonprofit. You say we refused to take him to Toledo. That is an outright lie. We did not refuse. Your suggestion of this vet came too late to help. Casey was too weak to make the trip.
We block people who have no desire to forward the positive action. Our site is pssitive and about helping birds not shaming and disparaging the reputations of others.
$1200 was sent for Casey. He passed away before all was spent. The rest was used to care for the other rescue birds. I chose not to do a necropsy because I emotionally felt that he had been through enough. It was a Saturday and not an easy thing to accomplish on a weekend. Casey was not neglected. He was so happy in his final weeks, even dancing with me and learning to whistle again. YOU WERE NOT HERE SO YOU DON’T KNOW.
As for the condition of the Wings building…we have been trying to get out and were in the middle of a land negotiation. The roof leaked. There were plenty yf cracks and places for mice to get in. We were doing remediation. We were working with a pet control company.
May 14, 2012 at 12:07 am
You got angry when I told you I was tired of your negative posts and bully techniques and told you to get off our page. Itold you I didn’t want your kind of help. You told me I would be sorry. You told me you would shut us down. Do you really have that kind of power?
Casey saw a vet. That’s old news. Perhaps not the vet you think he should have seen. The vet he saw was trained in avian medicine. He also works with raptors for another local nonprofit. You say we refused to take him to Toledo. That is an outright lie. We did not refuse. Your suggestion of this vet came too late to help. Casey was too weak to make the trip.
We block people who have no desire to forward the positive action. Our site is pssitive and about helping birds not shaming and disparaging the reputations of others.
$1200 was sent for Casey. He passed away before all was spent. The rest was used to care for the other rescue birds. I chose not to do a necropsy because I emotionally felt that he had been through enough. It was a Saturday and not an easy thing to accomplish on a weekend. Casey was not neglected. He was so happy in his final weeks, even dancing with me and learning to whistle again. YOU WERE NOT HERE SO YOU DON’T KNOW.
As for the condition of the Wings building…we have been trying to get out and were in the middle of a land negotiation. The roof leaked. There were plenty of cracks and places for mice to get in. We were doing remediation. We were working with a pet control company.
May 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm
Isn’t it ironic that the certified avian vet you refused to visit to aide Casey (because the drive was too far) managed to drive to Dayton to help examine the birds that were seized from Wings Over the Rainbow Bridge. You can overhear her speaking on one of the HSUS tapes while examining a cockatoo saying the bird was underweight. Hmmmmm, seems to me that with regular AVIAN veterinary exams, this would have been caught before then. Instead it just adds fire to the flame when decisions are firmed up about neglect and abuse at WOTRB.
Your timeline is conveniently off, Sher. People offered to drive Casey to Dr O and pay for the vet visit long before Casey went downhill.
You were in that building for many, many years, as proven by the street sign with the “rescue’s” old name still visible with its deterioration …. just a small but accurate indication of what a passerby could expect when entering the building.
May 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm
Great comments Janet, sorry we have not taken advantage of your kind offer but as you can imagine once things fall off my radar they tend to get lost. I am intrigued that you took my advice to NOT start a rescue. We tell everyone who asks that if you are not independently wealthy that it is virtually impossible, AND It is really hard work rewarded by people throwing crap from all sides. It amazes me that anyone ever steps up to try to do something good in this world when you think of all the sanctimonious “experts” out there hiding in the woodwork! You have to have a very thick skin and an inner strength that keeps you going through the darkest hours.
May 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm
Laurella: I would really love to get your source about the euthanizing of birds after seizures. I have been watching seizures and have never ever seen that. Please give your source of information.
May 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm
Bonnie–Laurella Desborough is a well-respected and knowledgeable bird breeder, writer, and speaker who knows what she’s talking about. In my area, I have no knowledge of any bird hoarders or any accusations of bird hoarding, but we’ve had a number of seizures of so-called cat hoarders, who are usually older or elderly women who are a bit easy to pick on. It’s just what she describes — many of the animals are immediately euthanized. This isn’t secret information. These stories have been published in the local newspaper and also on the newspaper website.
May 11, 2012 at 10:19 pm
Peach, I know who Laurella is and she knows who I am. I asked her where she got her facts that birds had been euthanized after a seizure. She cites only a blind chicken and a goose, though she does not say what source she got from there. As I stated, I have watched the seizures of birds go down and I have not heard of one case where a parrot has been euthanized. I asked for specific facts Peach, not about cats.
May 11, 2012 at 6:52 pm
Mark, it was your advice that caused me to first take pause. I worked to find ways to try to make it self-supporting, but it ended up being such a crapshoot — and I am not independently wealthy! – that I decided to leave it to people already doing it, and doing it well. It was years ago that we talked, at least 7 years ago, but your education and advice on how much time you have to spend fundraising on top of all the work of maintaining the flock and its husbandry… it just made me realize how hard it really is. And that it’s not for everybody. So thank you. :))
May 11, 2012 at 7:23 pm
You are welcome Janet, glad we could have been some help to you.
May 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm
Great job on this Patricia. There is a great support team of knowledgeable bird people and avian veterinarians set up there assisting with these birds. The Director of Project Perry / The Central Virginia Parrot Sanctuary is there helping with this, along with other reputable rescue people. I trust that they will do their very best to care for them and keep them safe. http://slideshows.humanesociety.org/index.php?album=143#id=album-143&num=content-2677
May 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm
Excellent Article, Patricia. Fair, and great points from Jacque and Marc.
May 11, 2012 at 8:22 pm
Wait a minute…Project Perry????
Better do a little more research on Project Perry…
Re euthanizing birds and animals…which is what I mentioned…Tennessee seizure,,,blind chicken was euthanized (based on the argument…no quality of life!). Goose was a pet…not “right” for geese according to the ARC people. Check on the ARC seizure last summer in Tennessee…some of the parrots ended up at the Bailey Foundation…where some were abandoned and starved to death. Cruelty charges were initiated against the foundation manager. (This is just ONE instance of euthanizing…horses, dogs, birds, cats, rabbits…all that do not fit the “needs” of the seizing agency are disposed of..I have been following seizures for some years now and what I am seeing is frightening in terms of the consequences to the animals. “It ain’t pretty.” IMO it is evil.
What I have read on another site, from someone who knew the folks at this Ohio location, there were birds that had been delivered there in bad condition. So, it is alleged that the humane society was using those birds as the reason to take all the birds. I cannot verify that statement. Hopefully the facts will come out eventually. Was an initial inspection done? Was an order for improvement made by local authorities before the seizure? Or was this just another PR opportunity by the local humane society and the HSUS with no thought of the consequences to the birds? I do not know.
Now, if someone delivers a plucked bird, an old bird, an arthritic bird to a rescue…that bird is going to look bad. I don’t see how the rescue facility can be blamed for the condition of a bird that was delivered in bad condition…You may not be able to cure a plucker. You certainly cannot cure an old blind arthritic bird…just as you cannot cure an old blind arthritic human. Why does anyone expect that all the birds in a rescue facility are going to be PERFECT? That is magical thinking, or stupidity, or perhaps thought governed by ideology, but it is certainly not part of the natural world, nor part of the reality of birds and animals. All living things grow old. Some develop health conditions. Yes. You might be able to improve those conditions, but you may not be able to cure them, or make every parrot in a rescue facility look great.
IMO assistance to a facility that is having problems is the answer.
Removing birds simply stresses them greatly. Sometimes stress kills.
Then we have the “evaluators” saying stupid stuff like…”OH, this bird was obviously not treated right…look how frightened it is!”
Well, DUH, the bird is being poorly handled, transported to a new place, by new people. What do you expect from a parrot in those situations? Stress. Fear. Dehydration. That is what you should expect and will likely find for most seized parrots. A few individual parrots may not respond with stress to being handled by strangers. Those are the unusual ones, certainly not the norm.
I am all for giving this Ohio facility the benefit of the doubt.
But, I do not expect the news media to do anything but pile on here and crucify these people, no matter whether they need it or not. That seems to be the norm these days…create a situation where the alleged “bad person” is convicted by the media, long before the facts are determined. Very sad to see in our used-to-be democracy.
May 11, 2012 at 10:24 pm
I am not Laurella. Many of us on facebook witnessed the agonizing death of an M2 at the hands of these people. Granted the bird came to them in bad shape, but they only took him to a dog and cat vet once and despite getting alot of donations and many offers to take the bird to a well respected avian vet, they refused. They “Prayed” over this bird until he died. NOW, that to me is abuse and it was very public and they posted almost daily pictures of this bird dying, including photos of them feeding this bird vienna sausages.
This seizure is not the result of one complaint or one incident. They had been cited and warned to clean up and did not. As far as I am concerned, this should have been done months ago.
May 11, 2012 at 8:22 pm
Good article, Pat.
May 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
May 11, 2012 at 10:10 pm
Patricia, once more you have delivered a wonderful sentiment that needs to be spoken out there. Like you, I have no knowledge of what lead to this seizure. Of course, another large seizure just happened at a person’s home. I find it interesting that HSUS only involved themselves in this case. I’m only guessing it’s because WOTR was located in a store front. Therefore falling under the AWA. As far as HSUS euthanizing parrots, that is not common practice. Much more common with dogs and cats. I like how HSUS was not involved in Troy. As far as what has gone on with Troy, it’s still in the courts with Mr. Ratcliff continuing to suck funds away from the community. He lost his first case of criminal intent for theft of birds, Ratcliff did. But now, Dr. Brauer who has paid for all the care of the 10 birds that came to him, is fighting Mr. Ratcliff’s charges of harassment, mistreatment, etc, that he is using to try to get the 10 birds back. And this case was so much worse in condition than WOTR.
May 11, 2012 at 10:42 pm
Oh, wasn’t the Ratcliff case the one where they actually found dead birds on the premises? If so, that one was absolutely horrible and the birds absolutely should have been seized there.
May 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm
If everyone that had a passion for parrots spent half as much energy as people fighting over who is fit and who is not, most all the parrots would be in a better state.
I have worked with many rescues and it’s hard to keep things clean and ship shape – you have to have a dedicated team and a clear cut leader, other wise don’t even consider it, along with loads of money a great vet nearby, a grant writing team also.
Please don’t condemn the people who are trying – better to pitch in and help them through the rough patches – which we all have, the best thing we all have is resources – they are everywhere – reach out, ask for help, and learn when to take a break . The parrots are our life blood, we vowed to protect them….not bicker over who is the best, or who is the worst… what parrot are you really helping.
Patricia thank you for a great forum and informative article.
May 11, 2012 at 10:41 pm
Right On, Tammy. You hit the nail on the head. Our real concern is the birds and how to be helpful. If we all do our part, more birds will be well cared for. That means educating people, donating where possible, and pitching in to help at the actual site if one is close enough to do so. And also taking in birds that need to be re-homed. I do that part as I am isolated from most rescue facilities, but I have about a dozen “re-homed” birds that will likely live out their days here. Not everyone can do everything to help, but if each one does what they can, then that will make a difference to the birds…which is what really matters.
May 11, 2012 at 11:05 pm
These upcoming comments are just general ones and aren’t in reference to any particular rescue. I’ve never been to the one in Ohio and just hope that the birds are treated properly, receive vet care, and find appropriate homes.
It does seem to me that rehoming at least some birds is a critical part of running a successful rescue. So many rescues that act as sanctuaries seem to run into serious money and manpower problems.
On the other hand, I can see why some rescues are reluctant to adopt birds. They see so many neglect cases which will poison their view of parrot owners. There are a lot of people out there with parrots who really shouldn’t have them. However, there are dedicated care givers out there. It is challenging to come up with a screening protocol that weeds out the careless people but that also doesn’t scare off the good people who are willing to learn about proper parrot care. It’s a critical part of running a good rescue, though.
I do wonder if some rescues are too quick to label imperfect birds as “unadoptable.” I say this because a couple of my birds would probably be labelled “unadoptable” by rescues but they are actually doing fine in my home. My Amazon, for example, would be very aggressive in a crowded sanctuary environment, but she’s calm and friendly in my home. My Green-cheeked Conure mix and Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo can be firecrackers but my husband and I handle them fine. I’m happy that I was able to adopt those two “firecrackers” from rescues that focussed on rehoming. Finally, my Jenday Conure is missing a foot but has actually made me a very nice companion.
I’ve also fostered birds for rescues I figured I’d end up keeping due to their imperfections (a feather-plucked Quaker with a gimpy foot and an extremely volatile Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo). Both took a while to find nice homes but they did find them. A few of my friends have also taken in difficult birds and take excellent care of them. I actually suspect that an easily-stressed bird that has specialized medical needs is better off in a nice, quiet, adult home than a crowded, busy sanctuary where different people are always coming and going. But those are just my thoughts on the matter.
May 12, 2012 at 12:46 am
I couldn’t agree with you more, Jessie.
May 18, 2012 at 6:04 am
Hi Jessie, you make many good points but I would ask how long do you think it would be to find a home for an aggressive male BF Amazon who is Bornavirus and APV positive? My point is that there may be a home for this guy out there, it has now been over one year since we put him on our adoption list. As for making people jump through hoops (not your comment Jessie but one made in this forum) all we ask from people is that they fill out the adoption form on our website to be considered for an adoption referral. You would be surprised how few people actually follow through with this one simple request. People who make broad judgmental statements like “a home is ALWAYS better than a rescue” have oversimplified the whole process. There are a lot of bad homes out there!
May 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm
There are certainly a lot of bad homes out there. Note that I didn’t say that every single bird that ends up at a rescue can be adopted. I did say that rehoming at least some birds is critical. Indeed, a bird with a contagious virus would be very challenging to rehome. I am not going to argue with that.
On the flip side, is placing such a bird in a room with many parrots the best solution? I’m not saying that you do this (I seriously doubt you would) but quite a few rescues don’t really have much of a quarantine protocol. Sticking all the birds together can result in many more birds catching a contagious disease.
Certainly while I think that rehoming is an important part of rescue, I definitely don’t think rescues should just hand out birds to anyone. I also recognize that it is difficult to come up with a protocol that pleases everyone. Some sort of screening is important to ensure that a potential caregiver does understand how to care for a parrot and is a good match for the particular bird they want. Filling out a form, in my view, is definitely not making someone jump through hoops. A lengthy discussion with a potential adopter about the bird’s needs and parrot care is also reasonable.
May 12, 2012 at 12:02 am
Her her, her volunteers and her special needs parrots! http://www.thepetitionsite.com/951/357/085/return-the-parrots-to-wings-over-the-rainbow/?cid=FB_TAF
May 12, 2012 at 12:07 am
This woman that runs this rescue is a saint. She takes in unwanted parrots that no one wants. She has given abused birds a chance to live free from pain and suffering. Many of the birds she has taken in have been so abused that they have severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They are issues which make them hard to find homes for, so she and her wonderful volunteers love them just they way they are. She has been trying for q long time to find suitable adopters for her tame parrots to downsize as she was unable to take in more unwanted parrots. Please help her. There are some disgruntled people that are angry with her because she refused to adopt out a bird to them. If they don’t fit certain criteria or don’t allow her to do a home visit, she can’t just let them take a bird. she has to be absolutely sure that the birds are matched well with their adopters. Please sign this petition. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/951/357/085/return-the-parrots-to-wings-over-the-rainbow/?cid=FB_TAF&fb_source=message Her rescue was wrongfully raided and now her birds are in danger. Many of those birds with serious problems can be misunderstood by the HSUS. Photos have been released showing her ceiling has rain damage, and showing her special needs plucked parrots, and the disabled Mitred Conure that she rescued that had lead poisoning, and a bowl of “birdy soup” that one of my Amazons makes every day. That place looks pretty good. The cages were spacious and it was bright and sunny in there. This is urgent. Wings Over The Rainbow is not a hoarding situation. They are a non-profit. Donations keep these birds fed and sheltered. Please learn more about her http://sites.google.com/site/wingsotr/deborah-shell-bio
May 12, 2012 at 12:47 am
Reblogged this on What’s happening at FBTB HQ. and commented:
I couldn’t have said this better myself.
May 12, 2012 at 7:06 am
Good article Patricia. And yes, birds are a hell of a lot of work, and very expensive. I do try to dissuade people and ask that they volunteer in a sanctuary for a few months to realize the amount of time, effort and most importantly, love that is required to take good care of one bird. Marc is right……unless you are independently wealthy, it would not be a wise idea to establish a rescue, you cannot always get volunteers, and having said that, be able and willing to pay people to come in and do the work needed. It is expensive.
May 12, 2012 at 9:28 am
Looking at this case as an outsider, I can see there were good intentions at the start, however good intentions only go so far when you take in more than you can handle. Birds were not receiving proper vet care. Birds were only being given the minimum nutritional needs at best.
The clincher is that self admitted mouse infestation with mice crawling out of bird cages, food bowls, and out of the bags, and containers of food, while they running around the store front. It appears no one has an issue with this. Lets face facts mice carry diseases, that can effect these birds, and their health. The stench of urine from this infestation is again not good for these birds to be breathing in, much less the people going in, or working there.
This is NOT, and I repeat, NOT an overnight situation. This has gone on for years. I have personally received calls on WOTR for years, that’s right Years.
I have no ill will towards Ms. Shell. But when one person tells you something, you dismiss it. When you receive calls from hundreds telling you the same thing, you have to listen. I have told all these people the same thing contact the local Humane Society and complain. Finally a new Humane Officer came to town, and took her job seriously. She did her homework, she investigated, she asked the proper people to assist her. In the end he did her job and I for one, commend her for doing the “Right Thing” for these birds.
The Investigation is ongoing, the results of bloodwork, and other tests will eventually be released, and the facts will speak for themselves. It’s simple “Let Them”. This was not a witchhunt, and the people that assisted in this event are not Trolls. They did what was asked of them, they did their jobs, and the birds will receive the very best of care. After all isn’t that what it’s all about?
May 12, 2012 at 10:27 am
While I want the best for these birds from WOTR…I cannot help but wonder if the course of action is for the best. Since HSUS proper knows zip about birds, and most humane societies also know zip, and often REFUSE offers of free vet care and advice from knowledgeable breeders re the care of the birds. A good example is the illegal seizure of birds and animals from a good sanctuary. (See:www.ouranimalhaus.org for details) Seized macaws were being fed finch food. The authorities refused free vet care for the birds and rather immediately began “selling” the birds and animals.
In another case, Lynn Andrews, (one of those nasty neighbor cases where the neighbor is either crazy or just mean), in which the owner eventually was awarded the birds back by the court, after FOUR hearings. When the owner with friends and a policeman went to collect her birds, the humane society apologized for all the poop pyramids in all the cages…saying they didn’t have time to clean the cages. Poop pyramids do not happen overnight. But they did have time to cut off bands, put males with males, etc. leading to fights. Oh and in this case, all the rare mutations had just simply disappeared, never to be found again! The owner had to have the policeman threaten to charge the humane society with 106 counts of theft before they would return the birds! What should have taken an hour took several hours because the humane society refused entry to get the birds until they had “done their dirty work.”
So, I hope someone is providing some oversight on the birds that were removed from WOTR because it is very possible that even more terrible things can happen. Birds with special medical treatments might be missing their routine meds. Birds with permanent health conditions may be OVER treated in an attempt to fix the problem. Specific species may not be fed their appropriate diet…and if you try to feed a parrot a diet they have never encountered, they may simply not eat….especially true of greys and cockatoos. I hope local bird people with broad knowledge of parrots are assisting with these birds. Otherwise some may be lost due to a lack of appropriate information for the species. This is would not be unusual as a result of a bird or animal seizure.
May 12, 2012 at 1:24 pm
Laurella: If you would read the news reports and also read my post, there were 2 avian vets and their techs there. Also, people from at least two bird clubs were brought in to help handle the birds. They are now being cared for by volunteers from the local bird club. I would say that things are well handled.
May 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm
That is good news. When the local knowledgeable bird folks are caring for the birds, that will make a big difference in their survival and quality of care.
As far as the regular news reports, I have learned they can be based on whatever the media have been told by those in control of the situation, which may or may not accurately reflect reality. That is why I like to hear from local bird people who know something about what is happening.
I hope all goes well for these WOTR birds. Thanks for the good news.
May 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm
Wow, too many comments already to read! Thanks for your wonderful blog entry. That is a good way to describe it: “little by little, it gets worse.” I can understand that. We all have our days when we are tired or overwhelmed and spend a little less time with the birds, forgo changing papers, skip sweeping the floor, decide to mop tomorrow, or make other shortcuts. I can imagine those situations slowly adding up and getting to a “hoarding” place. Maybe more people will understand.
May 12, 2012 at 9:08 pm
As I was told by Susan Friedman, when these things happen, we need to take a good look at ourselves. For we who love and have the best intentions are only a step away from those who have started down the “hoarding” path. So, it can be a step we never realize we take until it’s too late. So, another thing to take away from this is to say, “Am I doing as best as I can? Or can I do better?”
May 12, 2012 at 9:32 pm
Normally… “taking a good look at ourselves” is sound advice.” But in some situations- and I suspect this is one of them- things will be resolved much more quickly if everybody sticks to FACTS and not EMOTIONS. They may be hidden, they may be incomplete, but they will be there. What birds? What illnesses diagnosed? What vets did they see? What money was collected? From whom? What was it used for?
May 15, 2012 at 11:07 am
I would expect the hearing in this matter to answer some if not all of your questions: I believe questions regarding finances would be over on the Federal side of the investigation.
May 13, 2012 at 5:33 am
This was a wonderful article and probably one of the few that is balanced, unbiased, and fair. This is probably the only forum I feel I can post w/o being bashed. I supported WOTR financially until the seizure, mostly supporting one bird that I was not allowed to adopt and also contributing toys and other items such as mops when I could. I have no personal ax to grind with WOTR because I was turned down for adoption: the bird I wanted was a plucker who was out of his cage all the time. I have three birds who are caged while I am at work and nobody is at home. The rescue owner felt it was not in the best interest of the bird since it was a plucker and out of its cage. So I became its sponsor and saw the bird on a regular basis. Before this, I volunteered at WOTR several months assisting with cleaning, watering, and feeding. I was told that this is the most urgent need for volunteers and most people do not want to do and do not last long. Most volunteers want to play with the birds. It was back-breaking work, long and dirty. Yes WOTR does water and feed 2x a day, clean cages almost daily, and sweep a lot. I believe they did try their best. But I personally feel they are in over the heads. If you have read recent reports about the mice infestation, I saw a lot of that. I also saw cockroaches. The building itself was in horrible condition and WOTR tried to fix things as they could. The building’s owner certainly put no money into it. I understand the building is now condemned and vacated. The rescue owner lived in the building too, surrounded by the rescue birds. Her “store” items such as food and toys were in the same area as well, surrounded by the rescue birds. The first day i volunteered, there was a slow cooker cooking on the countertop where the cash register and rescue birds just a few feet away. There was no separate areas from the store, the living quarters, and rescue birds. There was no separate area to house a bird for quarantine when it was brought into the shop after surrender. I was greatly concerned myself about the health issues of this for myself. After volunteering I immediately would wash my clothing and shoes and take a shower. As time went on, I quit this volunteering and just sponsored and supported financially because I had more concern for the rescue birds. Every time I went there to visit, I found things more disturbing including: comments about a volunteer let go because she was suspected of stealing birds and other items and maybe participating in fraudulent adoptions in order to sell the birds; comments about there being no donations one month even though I commented that I had sent $45 that month including my monthly sponsorship for the one bird (somebody was cashing the checks). A year before the Casey incident, I believe another bird should have put to sleep instead of it suffering as long as it did, at least that is what I would have done if it was my bird. It had neurological issues, could not perch, shook all the time and had to be hand-fed. It supposedly was taken to the vet and on meds. I just hope that the HS and the groups involved have the best interest of the rescued birds and not just try to adopt them out. Some of them are not adoptable and probably will need to remain in a sanctuary for life. I just wish the WOTR supporters would take off their blinders and see the situation for what it is. Food and water is not enough. When you take money from the public, you have a responsibility and are accountable. Yes they asked for help especially for cleaning and were always requesting donations. Yes there are a lot of WOTR supporters but few that actually did anything. I don’t believe the rescue owner or the WOTR board can listen or see that they are in over their head and really needed for this seizure to happen. Could I have done more, yes; should I have complained to somebody, yes. Somebody has finally listened. Today I am very sad because my sponsored bird is out of my life but hopefully for the better.
May 13, 2012 at 8:05 am
Thank you Bridget. That explains a lot. It takes someone who is on site to really know the truth with these situations resulting in seizures and you have provided a very insightful view of the situation. Indeed it is deplorable. One can only hope that the birds will have a better life in the future. While many of us are concerned, most of us are too far away to be of any significant help on site.
May 13, 2012 at 10:30 pm
There are ways to help even from a long distance. Many of the birds are in need of vet care. Good vets gave of their time, but you cannot expect them to do everything for nothing. It is my understanding that there is going to be a push to raise funds to pay the vets to care for some of the birds. All of this is in the “early” stages but you can give a few dollars to help with that and that can go directly to the vet. I will be more than happy to tell you when things are in place and give you the information.
May 13, 2012 at 10:44 pm
Thanks Bonnie. I am on some bird lists where people are asking how they can help. So, let me know when you have the information. There are a lot of good hearted pet owners out there who are concerned and saddened and want to do something positive for these birds and those helping them.
May 13, 2012 at 6:53 am
Wow Patricia you were right about the comments on the blog —
We must start at the beginning before anyone even buys or adopts a bird – education, education, education … that is what is lacking … too many people are looking at making the buck at the expense of the bird (dog, cat, rabbit …) The entire community needs to band together to initiate change — not condemnation.
May 13, 2012 at 7:28 am
I’m pleased that you shared that Bridget. Thank you.
May 13, 2012 at 8:35 am
Pat, I really think this entry is dead-on! I respect and admire the way you viewed and wrote about this and I honestly feel the same way you do. We have a growing crisis in the U.S.—and perhaps in other countries as well, and we cannot point our fingers and say “Well, look at that! They’re terrible!!”, we need to address the root of the problem so we can help prevent these issues. There is a cliché—The road to hell is paved with good intent, and this is a prime example, I am sure WOTR started with great intent but they got caught up and this happened, I am willing to bet there are many, many other places that are operating in such conditions only they have not been investigated or siezed yet, we need to be fair.
We all need to recognize our limits, be fair to ourselves AND our companion animals. I know of many that think they can handle what they have but in reality they can’t.
Bravo Pat!!! Bravo!
May 13, 2012 at 11:44 am
Very insightful piece, thanks for writing and sharing… I agree, it’s only fair that we understand our limits to be fair to those who have no voice, those that NEED the help in the first place, in order that further pain isn’t inflicted — despite the good intentions. There have been *MANY* such stories lately across the species (cat and dog rescues), with abhorrent conditions coming to light. Again, thanks.
May 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm
I hesitate to make a comment, since I personally don’t know what’s going on. BUT I volunteer at Project Perry and helped hold down the fort while Matt was there. I knew a bit about what was going to happen, and I asked Matt a lot of questions. He was chosen to help not just because of his knowledge about birds and he’s been involved with a local seizure a few years ago of a lot of macaws. He said the HSUS did give them warnings, and all for a few years. I personally feel like it was a “took in too much” thing, but as I said I don’t know much. As to people who are worried they will be euthanized, it has happened before, yes, including one time where Matt was planning to bring a two legged, one footed tiel for me to foster. The doctor there wasn’t an avian vet and decided to euthanize before he got there. He was able to take two mitered conures, one who’s head is permanetly twisted down and she’s up with our “special forces” as we like to call our special needs. He won’t want to euthanize unless it’s necessary. The HSUS has been reaching out, and Matt has been trying to teach them more about avians and the need for help. He will be speaking at their meeting this year in a few weeks.
May 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm
Hello Jj, I have a question. I understand that Matt Smith is basically a pet owner turned bird re-homer. Exactly how long has he been involved in this activity?
May 13, 2012 at 7:42 pm
I don’t remember how long. And we’re not technically just a re-homing facility, we do long-term care also. I know that Matt actually worked at Foster Parrots before starting PP. Our website might mention how long it’s been. http://www.projectperry.com
May 14, 2012 at 11:33 am
Great comment and info. Thanks.
May 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm
Funny how the in all of the photos that the Humane Society of Greater Dayton released of this parrot sanctuary/rescue/adoption facility, there was not a single pic of a mouse, or mice feces. The pics the released weren’t even bad. The store was bright and sunny, it was pretty clean, and there was PLENTY of walking room. The food was clean and fresh. The bald, plucked and disabled birds were like that when Wings rescued them, such as the disabled mitred conure that walked on her knees due to lead poisoning because she ate lead before Deborah rescued her. Nice how the misinformed HSUS wants to make this look like the messed up parrots are all Deborah’s fault. These parrots were throwaway parrots the she rescued and provided a decent home for! She fed them and gave them shelter and love. One pic was a dirty water bowl. WOW! ONE dirty water bowl? One of my parrots makes nasty birdy soup every 5 minutes. She wont use a vacuum ball water bottle. The ceiling at WOTR had some rain damage. Not as bad as they make it seem to be. The HSUS of Greater Dayton failed miserably in the wrongful raid putting Deborah and these parrots through extreme emotional trauma. The HSUS of Greater Dayton were trying to look like heroes acting as if this was like the Troy parrots hoarding incident. This isn’t even close. WOTR is currently in the process of getting a larger facility. Please sign this petition so these birds can be returned to the woman and the volunteers that understand them, work with them, love them and re-home them! You can be anonymous. Thanks! – Niki
May 13, 2012 at 9:12 pm
New video http://video.humanesociety.org/press/video.php?bctid=1634203771001&channel=929963352001
May 13, 2012 at 9:13 pm
The birds getting some love and Vet check ups. http://video.humanesociety.org/press/video.php?bctid=1634229712001&channel=929963352001&fb_source=message
May 13, 2012 at 9:18 pm
Nicole, look at the videos that Michelle just posted links to and you’ll see the mice. Then tell us how nice and sunny that place is.
May 13, 2012 at 9:28 pm
The bathroom was gross. What about the rest of the place?? It showed clean cages and the place was spacious. The floors were even clean. There was plenty of room and no crowding. The birds were well taken care of!!
May 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm
I don’t think the mice just stayed in the bathroom, do you? Where did the volunteers go when they had to? Where did Debbie go? Rumor has it that the building has been condemned, so that says there was a lot more wrong with the facility than meets the eye.
I’d like to believe the birds were well cared for but my mind keeps going back to Casey. He was NOT well cared for. And that was enough for me.
May 13, 2012 at 10:24 pm
Nicole, you are right. The area where the birds were housed was clean, the cages spacious, the floors clean. If there was a mouse problem, that was a problem with the landlord…meaning mice cannot enter a place that is appropriately sealed. And, a closed off area with dead mice…no birds in there.
While that is gross and unsightly, there were no dead mice in the cages. If anything, the landlord should have been cited, not the sanctuary.
And what kinds of shots are being given to birds??? No swabs taken so how do the vets KNOW there is a bacterial problem or which meds are appropriate? You don’t give shots for a virus. So, what are the shots for? Are they just going to give all these birds a medical treatment???
Baytril no doubt…one of the harshest medicines you can give a parrot. And the news said…Zoonotic diseases…..just WHAT zoonotic disease can be identified by an avian vet who is LOOKING at a bird? None that I know of. Were there questions asked of the sanctuary manager as to what meds the birds might already be on? Nothing like double medicating to ruin birds’ livers and kidneys.
I just hope that is not the case here…
May 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm
Thank you for the wonderful article Patricia and as Charlee’s new mom I am very happy that her story was used to illustrate that even special needs birds can and do find families. I hope that other organizations will take Best Friend’s lead and realize that special needs does not always mean unadoptable. From what understand, ROTR had alot of special needs birds that were automatically put on the “unadoptable” list and it just doesn’t always have to be so. Jacque worked very hard to see Charlee’s adoption through despite how she and all of the staff loved Charlee.
JJ, don’t be drawn into dialoque by Ms. Desborough. Ask Matt when you see him at the sanctuary this week…he will fill you in.
As for the comments about the pictures from ROTR, I know that there are more, and the HS is handling things as they should. The evidence will be presented to the court before they are released for public consumption.
May 13, 2012 at 10:39 pm
All these kudos to the HSUS…they love to appear for the photo ops, just as they did during Katrina. Then when the real day to day work is needed…they are gone and the local humane society or some rescues will be left with the work of caring for the birds and parceling them out for adoption. What about the special needs birds? The plucked birds? What is going to happen to them?
Remember, HSUS is the organization working to eliminate pet ownership, especially exotic pet ownership. While this information may not be known to all who love birds, it is an important aspect of the HSUS goal for animals in the US.
Donate to your local humane society where the money will be well used, not to HSUS where the money goes for lobbyists, a stable of 40 lawyers, and nice retirement funds for the top executives. Oh, 1 percent of each donated dollar goes to animal projects…according to the HSUS own filings with the IRS.
May 14, 2012 at 5:53 am
Please, enough of this scare mongering. The HSUS is primarily a legislative organization addressing the suffering of animals caused by people who do not care about the suffering or dignity of the animals they “use” for their own financial gain. HSUS’s agenda does not include ending pet “guardianship” in any way, shape or form. To say so is a total fabrication. Your attempts to have people accept your authority may work in your “breeding community” forums but the people here will not blindly follow such dribble.
Of course only 1% of HSUS’s budget goes to direct animal care. Everyone who supports them understands that the money they donate to HSUS goes to the legislative efforts to end the suffering of billions of animals. I for one, am glad to see them venturing into the suffering caused by the pet trade.
May 14, 2012 at 8:58 am
Marc, with all due respect, my comments about HSUS stand. They are stated in their own documents. One does not need to make up HSUS statements, just read their own remarks. At present they are working on “ending animal agriculture”…pretty straight forward statement on their part. HSUS likes to portray themselves as an animal protection organization, but they are 100% an animal rights organization. Ask the veterinarians who worked Katrina what they think about HSUS ….and their answers may surprise you. All the information is out there…all you have to do is look for it.
Regarding pet ownership, you might read the HSUS declarations re exotics.
Regarding animal ownership, you might read the AVMA position statement indicating “guardianship” is a dangerous concept which poses a threat to providing appropriate animal care.
While HSUS has a public agenda of ending animal suffering, that is their public agenda…which is tied to their goal of turning the US into a vegan nation. Now, if someone wants to be a vegan, fine with me. BUT, I do not think it is the business of any cult to try to force the entire public in the US to become vegan.
As far as HSUS putting money into legislation, yes they do. Lots of it. They tend to sue federal agencies too. And, to whose benefit? Not the animals, nor the animal owners. Also, every opportunity is taken to vilify breeders. To the point that the NE US has to import dogs from the South, Puerto Rico, and from other countries in order to satisfy the demand for pets…since so few are being bred there. So, I guess that dog breeders in Puerto Rico and Mexico and Taiwan are just fine..but the breeders here (with all the best vets, etc.) are just trash. If you want to read some of the comments about animal rights and HSUS goals…
check out http://www.bewareanimalradicals.com
Thanks for your patience, Patricia. IMO people who love their birds need to know the real threats that the animal rights agenda poses for bird owners.
May 14, 2012 at 12:30 pm
Marc, at Foster Parrots, I cannot believe for a moment that you support HSUS. They are nothing but an interfering entity that takes all the money and runs. If you are looking for good animal welfare conduct, HSUS is not the model. AZA is a great model, APHIS outside the influence of HSUS (which HSUS is trying to sink all their money into to be in and control APHIS) at least was a decent model. The ASPCA, USFW or the USDA is fine. HSUS is only negative. Nothing more or less than negative with only negative agendas out for everyone and only taking advantage of people’s unknowingness. What HSUS should do if they want support of real animal people is to support real animal situations. Like TROY PARROTS. THEY DID NOTHING WHEN BIRDS WERE DYING, not just a bit sick or a bit of food not there or a bit of dirtiness. No, they were completely neglected, abused, dead, dying, decaying. Nothing less than the most disgusting case ever and we BEGGED for their help. We even asked for PETAs help, but no one, not one organization nor that of the government have come to the case. No criminal charges could be filed. So, this case was a legitimate case through and through, not a “he said, she said” case. The cases they have involved themselves in are the heated, debated potentially questionable cases that are about individuals and care. So, if HSUS had good intentions whatsoever, they’d be involved in all the cases, not just cases brought to ARC’s attention. And yes, ask anyone about how they did with Katrina and the results are no less than Horrid.
Personally, I’ve talked for days to the Director of Marine Mammal Welfare, Naomi Rose, at HSUS, to see what her take on Marine Mammals in captivity. This pertains to parrots as this pertains to the way HSUS feels about all animals. “They all should be removed.” She said. All. Even the ones born here that will not do well out there. I know because my entire senior thesis in college was researching every release of marine mammals ever done up until 1996. Despite the loss of Keiko, who was much better welfare wise, at Oregon Coast Aquarium, she claimed that Keiko’s release was a success. How, I begged, do you come up with that conclusion? The animal was alone, begged for attention from people in Norway and needed constant intervention to stop that behavior by HSUS. She stated the animal was better off dying alone in the wild than to be taken of in captivity. An orca is never alone. Dolphinw, sure, but not an orca. The orcas of his pod rejected him fully. He died before his time of pneumonia. So tell me that HSUS is a good thing. HSUS only wants marine mammals to be in videos or see replicas in museums to get people to advocate for animals. No one will advocate if they don’t have a personal tie in. You won’t have a personal tie in unless you experience the living animal yourself and have a personal experience. Naomi Rose took days to finally admit that she was selected in a Dolphin Show as a child and that is why she loves marine mammals so much and does what she does. I told her that is why she does what she does. We need animals in our lives. They give us the empathy for them and the advocacy we feel. To have them completely divested of us will only lead to an apathetic society even more. Yes, there are nasty cases out there. Yes, education would help but only helps if they are willing to learn. Unfortunately, we as the intelligent bird community, NOT HSUS, needs to do legislation. We must. We cannot let HSUS get control of what we do with the birds. Get AFA to do it. Get IAATE to do it. Get AZA to do it. Get ASPCA to do it. But get ARC, PETA and HSUS the heck away from us all.
May 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm
BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! Debbie, You called it like it is. HSUS wants animals OUT of our lives, and if that means DEATH, well so be it! Death is fine with HSUS. That is why they seek to put their cult-following professionals into positions of power in the federal government. That is why we had HSUS Ex-VP Dr. Susan Leiberman in USFWS writing the regulations on exotic birds in 1990’s. That is why we now have Ex-HSUS Attorney Sarah Conant now hired in the enforcement division of the USDA APHIS. The HSUS is putting THEIR people into key positions in the federal government in order to implement their anti-animal agenda. You spoke the truth. Pet owners need to know this.
May 13, 2012 at 10:49 pm
Laurella, if you actually read accounts instead of making assumptions, you would know that at least TWO ABVP-board certified avian vets..Drs Burges and Orosz… have been examining every bird as it came into the temporary holding facility, with a couple other avian vets, all with their techs, also on scene.
May 14, 2012 at 8:04 am
Judith, I did read about the vets and the exams. I stand by my comment. There is no way a vet can look at a bird and determine it has a zoonotic disease. A zoonotic disease is one that can affect humans. That has to be determined by testing…and tests are not completed in a few minutes, but rather in a few days.
Having spent many years working closely with my own board certified avian vets, I have a lot of respect for good vets. That does not prevent me from stating the obvious…that Baytril is a harsh drug and I hope they weren’t using it. Swabs and growing cultures would indicate which drug to use on each bird.
May 14, 2012 at 11:10 am
Again, a number of highly qualified vets, and yes, the articles stated concerns about zoonotic disease, which I’d be concerned about as well with that many birds, from different sources, all tossed together without quarantine or vetting…I’d be concerned aboout psittacosis as well. . As for guessing at problems, blood work was done on all birds, and again, you are th eone making assumptions about what was and was not done.
May 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm
Judith, there is no way one can factually claim that zoonotic diseases were present without testing. You cannot see it. You can SUSPECT it. Would most professional veterinarians state they suspect it? Who made the statement to the media? WHY would such a statement be given to the media? Well, it is effective in increasing the concern and disgust of the public. That is for sure.
May 14, 2012 at 12:05 pm
Hey Laurella, Baytril is not a harsh drug. It just balances the good vs. bad bacteria in the digestive flora and fauna to keep the animal balanced when it undergoes stressful situations like being shipped, etc. It’s given as a boost to the “Good bacteria” that are often shed when stress happens. A harsh drug that is an antibiotic would be something more like Amoxycillin. It wipes out not only the bad bacteria, but often deteriorates the good as well. Just so people understand that Baytril is not “abrasive, harsh, bad”, etc.
May 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm
Debbie, at the risk of being argumentative, Baytril is an antibiotic, Enrofloxacin, which is related to Ciprofloxacin. If you’ve ever taken Ciprofloxacin, you’ll know that it wipes out everything. It has a high rate of causing vomiting and diarrhea in people because it wipes out the gut flora, and probiotics are often needed to help restore GI balance. Additionally, Baytril can cause liver damage and neurological issues in animals. Having worked in vet clinics for 22 years, I can count on one hand the times that I’ve seen bad reactions to Baytril in dogs and cats, so it’s pretty safe for those guys, but birds don’t metabolize it as easily as dogs and cats do, because it wasn’t designed for birds. So yes, generally speaking it’s a fairly benign antibiotic, but it is one of the harsher antibiotics you can give to birds. A lot of avian vets will only give Baytril as a last resort because it can, and does, cause severe liver damage in our avian friends.
Again, I hope I’m not coming off as argumentative; I just wanted to explain why Laurella was concerned (although, in this particular case, the point is moot because there’s no evidence of them giving Baytril to the birds).
May 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm
UGH. I just realized I confused Baytril for the probiotic, essentially, Bacterplus. I don’t remember the other name right now DUH. You can get it as a powder to give to birds for stress in transport. Sorry for my post to Laurella’s Concern. Obviously, as testified by the vet tech, Baytril is a concern as it is a strong antibiotic. OOPS.
May 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm
Ohhhhh, are you thinking of Benebac?
May 14, 2012 at 1:20 pm
YES! That’s the one! DUH!!
May 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm
May 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm
Read the posts on BURGE BIRD RESCUE page. You’ll find the answers to the questions you are seeking.
May 14, 2012 at 12:03 am
Dr. Burge’s observations are bloodchilling, and I don’t use that expression lightly.
“…and one budgie had a tumor about half the size of his body, ” she wrote. There is no excuse for not seeing that and taking that poor bird to a vet – no excuse, none. And that’s just one example.
The footage of the bathroom should be enough of a “red flag” for anyone, and if it isn’t, then that person is in denial.
Whether one admires the HSUS or detests them, at least they have spearheaded a knowledgeable and dedicated team, and garnered needed resources.
May 14, 2012 at 10:05 am
The parakeet did see a vet. Not operable. Said to let him live out his days. The bathroom was never used. It was closed up and probably opened for the first time in a long time during the raid. It was gross. No doubt. But the birds were never back there.
May 14, 2012 at 2:05 am
That vial is definitely not Baytil. Baytril vials are much larger and have a purple label. It doesn’t look like any antibiotic vial, actually. This is purely speculation, but based on the size and shape of the vial and the color of the liquid, I’d guess it was Metacam. That, or some sort of sedative or pre-anesthetic drug. It’s hard to say from that brief clip on the video.
This is also entirely speculation, but just coming up with a plausible scenario to answer your question, Laurella, I could see how if some of the birds were symptomatic for Campylobacter and had the yellow diarrhea, and spirilla were visible on a fecal smear, they would consider it safe to assume that the spirilla were Campylobacter and start treating before waiting for culture results. That’s a pretty common, and I feel entirely reasonable, scenario in vet clinics. They could also have seen some birds who were symptomatic for Chlamydia with the red, swollen eyes and started the birds on Doxycycline before waiting for test results–especially since tests for Psittacosis are often inconclusive. Also common and in my opinion reasonable.
I share your mistrust of and distaste for HSUS and their overall agenda, their misguided propaganda for “animal rights”, their gross misleading of their involvement with actual animal rescue and local humane societies, and their gross misappropriation of funds. I, too, actively work to raise awareness about where exactly people’s money goes when they donate to HSUS. However, having been directly involved in hoarding seizures here in Texas, I can tell you that they don’t have carte blanche to go sweeping into private homes and businesses and take the animals willy nilly. They have to have the involvement and approval of local law enforcement, and an extensive investigation needs to be done beforehand. The private owners or businesses are given ample warnings and opportunities to change before a judge will sign off on a seizure. It’s not my place to say whether the seizure at WOTR was merited, nor is it my place to say whether or not HSUS has an ulterior motive for their involvement and the media surrounding it. But whatever their motives, they are not acting without the approval and cooperation of knowledgeable, capable third parties.
May 14, 2012 at 8:32 am
To frombeakstobarks. Your points are well taken regarding the medications and the HSUS. Thanks for the detailed answer.
Sometimes there is a problem with seizures, as happened in Portland, Tennessee, this past summer. The local DA was an animal rights follower. He set up a meeting with the animal control, police, zoning, and Animal Rescue Corps (the radical activists who rip cage doors off because no bird or animal should be caged). The DA told Zoning to declare the house uninhabitable! (This animal rights DA is now running for Congress.)
This little enterprise was funded by one wealthy local guy, Ady Gil, who also participated in the raid. There was NO forewarning to the animal owner. She had fired an employee who was a thief. The fired employee gave her name to the ARC because ARC had a poster in the local police office offering hundreds of dollars to anyone turning in an “animal abuse” case.
Here is what the lady in Tennessee had to say about this recent event:
I got a call from a guy last month who was asking if one of the birds there [WOTR] was one of mine that was seized last year…it wasn’t but he talked very highly of this rescue.
In my case all they found were a few spiders and dust when they moved breeder flights that had been set up for several years…no mice, nothing else. All flights were cleaned weekly, all cages and singles every other day. ALL had fresh, clean water…this at 7AM that day and I was doing food. I had 5 bags of FRESH corn that had been picked the afternoon previously to give my birds. THIS was said to be “rotted” food laying around. They dumped cages over spilling contents on the floor, took a photo of the only dirty water dish they could find…this sitting in a cage that was outside and hadn’t had a bird in it for months and killed a Goffin during the raid, and had a crippled pet chicken killed and cut up afterward. ALL photos were taken by ONLY ARC and dispersed immediately to the media, while I was transported to JAIL. No media was allowed within a mile of my home during the raid. You would think reporters would find this alone suspicious…
Hookbill Haven, 30 years of healthy, happy birds…destroyed in one day.
When the animal rights radicals can shoot the photos and prepare the media message, no matter the real conditions found, the animal owner is smeared as a wretched animal abuser. Afterwards, this woman had people who didn’t even know her driving past and screaming insults at her…when she was essentially innocent of the entire accusations.
What is sad is that truly abusive situations may not be identified well because of the many false abusive situations, or situations of simple neglect which can be the result of a sick animal owner who needs some temporary help.
There should be quick LEGAL action taken to remove birds or animals under immediate threat of death or harm…but when there is not an immediate threat, the best course of action is to make a list of recommended improvements and give the owner/manager a timeline in which to accomplish those improvements. For exotic birds and animals, this is the least stressful option. This is how it was done for many years. Now that there are “benefits” to seizing birds and animals, the seizures are done without any opportunity given to the animal owner to fix whatever is deemed to be wrong. Very sad for the birds and animals….and sometimes fatal for them.
May 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm
How terrible for that woman. I’m sorry she went through that. Unfortunately politicians do abuse their power by wielding it against people with whom they have a personal conflict, or to further a personal agenda. Stories like this happen all the time. When I was a little girl, some friends of ours had their children taken away from them and put in foster homes because they homeschooled and they were accused of child neglect. I spent a lot of time in that house, and no one was neglected. They were loved, well cared for, well educated, obviously had the social skills to make and maintain friendships, and their house was usually cleaner than ours. But they had a nosey neighbor who didn’t agree with their lifestyle and had friends in high places, so an investigation was launched and the kids were taken away. It was several months before the family was reunited, but it was devastating to them. So yes, these kinds of injustice do happen, not just with birds, but in all kinds of circumstances.
All I can say is that what won their case is that their lawyer was savvy enough to get some compelling witnesses who could refute the charges laid against them. One can hope that if any of us find ourselves in a similar situation, we would be able to find the right lawyer, and the right witnesses.
Again, I’m not standing in judgement of WOTR. I know nothing about them aside from what people have said here and elsewhere. They very well may be victims of an agenda, or the seizure could have been warranted. All we can do is support the care of the birds, wherever they are, and hope that everything is justly sorted out in court.
May 14, 2012 at 9:56 am
WOTR was given plenty of warning to clean up. The Humane officer there had been in that place several times, given warnings and orders to clean up and get their act together. It did not happen. Then she carefully looked at how to do this with the least amount of stress to the birds and brought in the people she knew could help, including avian vets.
The vets were not just doing “on the spot” diagnosis. They did on the spot inspections, triaged the birds and then later did more detailed exams including blood work. None of know what happened on the ground other than the tapes we see but so many are very quick to judge what was being given the birds. The tape where the birds are being examined was shot later at the area where they are being housed. My guess is that is when treatments were started as decided by the AVIAN VETS two of whom are board certified.
Time for us to start working towards find a way to help those birds and meeting their needs. BTW, the call went out this morning for help with things like toys for the big birds and news paper (I imagine there is not enough newspapers in that whole town to use for substraight) Any donations can go straigt to the Great Dayton Humane Society (A LOCAL SHELTER) You can google them and get their information.
May 14, 2012 at 9:58 am
According to the search warrant, they were in one time. October 18, 2011.
May 14, 2012 at 11:17 am
A warrant only has to establish probable cause. Your case will be heard in full in court. And “they” were in there a lot more than you know.
May 14, 2012 at 11:14 am
Bonnie, correct all around, and yes…donations can be sent directly to the Dayton Humane Officer, they will be used by her, for these birds, period. The Parrot Psse will also again be fundraising, with our donation dedicated to helping with costs of medications and other supplies that will be needed for many of these birds. With the Troy birds, we were able to donate $3,450 dollar to Dr Brauer. That was for ten birds: I can’t begin to imagine the cost for all these birds, and I’m talking supplies only..the vets have doanted their time and are a tribute to their profession.
May 14, 2012 at 11:25 am
@ Judith If they were in and did not make themselves know, then it doesn’t count as anything except an investigation. Apparently they said to pull up the carpet and to put things on cages to keep mites out. It’s hard to buy those things…very old school. Nothing after October 18 was cited. Stop acting like the attorney you aren’t since you were disbarred.
May 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm
To be clear, I wasn’t implying that the vets were doing reckless, on-the-spot diagnosing. I was merely assuaging fears that they might be giving dangerous medical treatments indiscriminately to all the birds. Since any cultures they took probably will not have come back yet, it would be reasonable to think that they will proactively start treatments on symptomatic birds based on fecals, bloodwork results, and examinations.
And I agree with you that sitting around speculating is unproductive. It’s far better for us to focus on helping the birds, wherever they are.
May 14, 2012 at 2:09 am
That is to say, sometimes even HSUS can accidentally be helpful and productive. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. 🙂
May 14, 2012 at 11:51 am
Yep. My usual take on HSUS is “Well they aren’t as bad as PETA” which is the original “daming with faint praise,” but they do have the physical resources to be helpful now and then. BTW, I posted Dr Burge’s comments on WOTR’s page last night so peopel coudl see what an unbiased opinion loks like, but “someone” instantly deleted it and banned me. God forbid the kool aide drinkers get a reality check.
May 14, 2012 at 6:11 am
Having volunteered cleaning up at WOTR for a number of months, besides the mouse infestation, there was also cockroaches. I know because I saw them in the area where the food was recycled. If you read the WOTR Facebook wall, at least one other volunteer saw them as well as and was trashed by others for saying so. The mice, dead and live, were all over and a problem. I never saw them in actual cages but mostly on the floor. Once I walked outside to leave and almost stepped on a dead one that must have been tossed out. The left side of the building had huge holes in the drywall with rocks and debris on the floor. It was hard to sweep this up. To be fair to WOTR, they did patch some of them. Yes they cleaned the cages almost daily and did put money into bedding etc. There was a lot of cleaning, vacuuming and mopping. A lot of work depended on how many people/volunteers were there at any given time. It was hard work to constantly clean. As I was told when I initially volunteered, most people do not last long on what was needed most, cleaning. I only lasted a few months myself. There was a cat at one point and Deb’s dog was with her in her living area pretty much full time as well. Last year Deb had health issues; the dog defecated during the night because she was not able to let the dog out. I saw this when I was volunteering because somebody else cleaned it up. I think one of the problems WOTR had was in maintaining volunteers. There was one specific person there most of the time I was there; others seemed to come and go.
Birds had minimal toys. The birds on the left side of the building seemed to get less attention than the ones in the main store area and I felt so sorry for them.
You had rescue birds, living quarters, and an actual “store” (food, toys, bird items were sold) all in the same area. Some of the birds were allowed to fly around. When I still had my blinders on, I took my own 3 birds on two occasions to get clipped at WOTR because I thought they could use the money. After the Casey incident, I finally realized that I was exposing my own flock to any possible diseases and stopped. As much as it is claimed that the birds were vetted, I personally do not know if a vet visited WOTR on a regular basis for all birds outside of sick ones that were brought in like Casey. How people can find this environment (mice, roaches, etc) acceptable is beyond me.
I went down to WOTR the day of the seizure and was told that the building was condemned with 30 days to get the building vacated. There was a notice on the door to indicate this as well.
I don’t doubt that Deb loves and cared for “her” birds, but at some point, those birds’ needs must come first. I think they started out with good intentions and it got out of control
May 14, 2012 at 9:38 am
All breeding of exotic birds should cease. Breeders, imo, should go and get a real job instead of adding to the already seriously overpopulated and saturated ‘pet’ bird trade. It’s of epidemic proportions and needs to be stopped. The sanctuaries and rescues are overwhelmed with unwanted birds. They live for such a long time, there just aren’t enough rescues out there to take them all in.
HSUS and other organizations like them, are trying to end animal suffering.
Of course breeders don’t like them.
May 14, 2012 at 10:03 am
Who are you Bridget? Why don’t I know you? You know those birds were fed and watered two times a day. They never went without water. If the USHS says they were dehydrated, it was sitting in the sun in crates or in a box truck. You will also recall the leaking roof. You’ll remember John coming in everyday to help. What about the good she did? Do your remember that? She was raided as tho it was a meth lab.
May 14, 2012 at 11:17 am
Deborah Shell is just an exotic bird hoarder and let that be known during her interview that many of the birds were her pets! LMFAO- Some rescue- that is why WOTR has so many birds and was a health hazard for both humans and the birds.
There is no excuse for her to have almost 140 medium and large size birds when she is supposedly a ‘rescue’ that places birds in ‘quality’ homes. Anybody defending the fact that she would have the best interests of these birds in mind by having them live in a shit hole is lost on me.
This has nothing to do with judging or pointing fingers- Shell made the decision herself to keep most of the birds and this is a result. Defenders of WOTR seem to forget that parrots are highly intelligent, social and long-lived animals, they aren’t meant to be hoarded and caged away in a shit hole.
May 14, 2012 at 11:49 am
Sher Patrick, sorry, you do not know the law re search warrrants, or, it seems, defamation. You will have your chance to plead your case in court. In the meantime, you might want to avoid invoking a personal suit.
May 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm
I’m sorry if I was given bad information. My apologies if I said something erroneous. So you are an attorney in good standing?
May 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm
Not that it is remotely relevant,it’s your actions or inactions that are the subject of current lititgation, but I retired from the active practice of law in 1994 when my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was given two months to live. I returned home to care for her, and my father, and after they died within 5 days of one another, my grandmother. I was gone from the state of South Carolina, and the practice of law, for over three years, only returning when my grandmother died at age 108. Elected not to resume practicing and let my license lapse. My family came first. Again, nice try at deflection, but I’m not the one who has allowed this ghastly situation to go on in the name of “rescue.” That would be you. BTW, my mother’s had only one deathbed request: one, that I care for her mother, and two, that I continue to help animals in need. I did both. Any other personal questions I can answer for you as you continue to try to divert attention from your own complete and utter failures?
May 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm
I am very sorry for Deb Shell. It was obvious to me in the HSUS video that those birds were well loved and socialized. But it was also apparent that things had gotten way out of control.
I am not interested in beating up on her. I know she loved those birds. But I am extremely angry at the rest of the people involved in the rescue who keep saying everything was lovely and there was absolutely nothing wrong.
Sher says the bathroom was closed off, but Deb has repeatedly stated that she lives as the rescue, sleeping on a cot. She had to be using the bathroom.
The rescue community knows this investigation has been going on for more than a year. We know that people were sent in undercover repeatedly. This was a well documented investigation. Facts will come out once this goes to court. But be VERY assured that the investigation was not due to complaints from disgruntled adopters, internet trolls, or rescues jealous about money. To believe that PetSmart Charities, the HSUS, and law enforcement were involved on the say so of some disgruntled adopter is extremely naive. Now, lets move on, help the birds, and try to figure out a way that the rescue community can police itself so this never happens again.
And by the way the term Industrial Hoarding refers to rescues/sanctuaries instead of private individuals. So just because you are a rescue doesn’t mean you aren’t also a hoarder.
May 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm
For Jo. It seems you have been grossly misinformed about bird overpopulation. I know that in 1995 or 96, Dr. Brian Speer asked that the rescues and sanctuaries come up with a survey and document the numbers. One survey was done. I believe it is published on the Gabriel Foundation website. That survey certainly doesn’t indicate over population. Now, one major reason that sanctuaries and rescues are full…is that their requirements for adopting a bird are, as one person put it, greater than if one were adopting a human child. I do not know if this is the case, since I haven’t tried to adopt any.
I can say that I have helped re-home birds over the years, from starlings to cockatoos, and all went to good homes. Many people like me do keep a group of birds that have been given to us as re-homes…birds that are imperfect, blind, plucked, etc. They live out their lives with the same food and care as all our other birds. Many breeders do this because we love and respect our birds.
This whole idea that breeders are making a big living on birds is b.s. ONLY those with many hundreds of budgies or cockatiels or large parrots can claim to make a living raising and selling birds. The rest of the people raising birds just happen to LOVE birds, whether they are chickens, pigeons, turkeys, finches, or parrots…and most of these people also feed the wild birds and support conservation projects, both within the US and in other countries.
One reason lots of bird and animal lovers have a problem with the HSUS is that the HSUS has this propaganda machine that indicates most individuals who keep or breed animals are greedy money grubbers, or hoarders, or abusers. The fact of the matter is that the majority of people who work with exotics happen to like them, whether they are snakes, sugar gliders, hedgehogs, or parrots. Some humans enjoy the company of other living critters. In the process, these people help add to the knowledge base on those species and many provide funds for conserving wild species. IMO most animal owners are decent responsible people who provide proper care to their birds and animals.
May 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm
Quoted from WOTRB’s Facebook page: Wings will not be pulled into the hateful dialogue seeking to disparrage those who have given so much to help to abused, abandoned and neglected birds.
Yet here we’re seeing Cher attacking numerous people, including Judith Archer and me. So much for the truth. Once again.
May 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm
Fellow avian enthusiasts, may I ask that we be a little more mindful in our responses to each other, and try to treat each other with respect rather than combativeness and hostility? The spirit of Patricia’s blog entry is one of non-judgement and understanding; of being helpful rather than critical; it behooves us, as guests on her blog, to try to honor those sentiments. I understand that everyone involved in this conversation feels they are being put on the defensive and need to protect themselves and what they believe in, but can we try to take a step back and realize that the people whose viewpoints we oppose *also* feel that way? And even if we can’t agree, even if our viewpoints directly oppose each others’, can we at least respect the fact that we are all acting based on what we believe is right, and our common love for birds? No one here is behaving out of malice or a desire to harm birds. I know I have no position of authority here, so I’m not trying to tell anyone else what to do. I’m just asking the group to take a step back, breathe, and try to re-evaluate how we all communicate with each other. Thanks for reading. 🙂
May 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm
Are you surviving all this, Patricia? Your blog post was great. Don’t let all the bickering get you down.
May 15, 2012 at 12:54 am
I just got home. It’s 1:53 a.m. and I missed all of this. But I just worked an 18 hour day so I’m a little tired. It’s going to have to wait. I’ll be commenting tomorrow…
May 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm
WOTR knew about the issues. One of the local people received a message from one of the WOTR folks admitting there was a large problem at the rescue. They wanted her to be willing to testify about the conditions and issues surrounding Deb Shell. When it was posted the person it was sent to commented they would be willing to testify in court and hand over the record of it being sent to prove that the problem was realized and never fix. It was deleted when it was posted again and she was banned from the WOTR FB by the moderators. That night someone tried to hack into her FB account. WOTR has made a statement that part of the reason the building was condemned was to simply take away a place to place the birds if they were to get them back. What??? What they post read like a mass conspiracy, with little evidence that it is one. And the other side providing plenty of evidence they had good cause.
Who do I believe? Qualified avian vets and videos that show without a shadow of a doubt there was a severe infestation there? One that risked the health of the birds in their care. Or another side that claims the birds were ‘loved’. Love isn’t all they need. They need a clean building, they need to be thought of first and right now it seems they’re only terrified other rescues might ‘benefit’ from ‘their’ birds. Shameful.
May 15, 2012 at 5:26 am
My question remains…it is generally the responsibility of the landlord to make sure a building is vermin proof. Now, unless this landlord had some kind of contract with the WOTR folks, why is not that landlord responsible for “fixing” the vermin problem? That would be the case in just about any city that I know of. A renter cannot just make physical changes to a building…that is the responsibility of the landlord. So, how is that aspect being handled? Doesn’t this situation give WOTR a claim against the landlord? When mice have holes in the walls in which to enter, it is just about impossible to keep them out…unless those holes are closed by fixing the structure of the building. Does this not make sense???
May 15, 2012 at 11:28 am
Laurella the building was in horrible shape; on one side were large holes in the wall, almost no drywall anymore. Rocks and debris were on the floor. It was hard to sweep up. I know WOTR did try to make some repairs themselves and fixed at least the back wall. The roof did leak and WOTR did try to fix that as well. IMHO, if the landlord would try to make repairs, the birds would have had to be removed to make the place habitable. It has been my understanding that the landlord did not care.
May 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm
Well, in the final analysis then, the condition of the structure was the responsibility of the landlord, who did not care. And, because of the condition, holes in the wall, leaking room, mice running about, the WOTR was held to blame. I have to wonder why local authorities, such as zoning, health dept. and so on, would not lay the blame for the structure where it belonged, not on WOTR, but on the landlord. Such would be the case in most states. One could blame WOTR if the birds cages were dirty, their water bowls empty, their food bowls empty, but not on the condition of the building, over which they had little control. Interesting that no one considers this to be of importance. Certainly, if the WOTR is going to be legally charged with something, I don’t see how mice or holes in the wall, or a leaking room can be held against them. I hope someone can communicate this point to them, as I am not in contact with any of the WOTR people and personally do not know them.
May 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm
Anyone in a landlord/tennant relationship has a contract. They know what their rights are. And if they can show (it is possible to prove things) that they have been battling the landlord for needed changes, then good for them!
May 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm
Makes sense to me!
May 23, 2012 at 11:49 am
And frankly, if a tenant moves in and allows rubbish and debris and seed to lie about, and a basically invites rodents in…I don’t see where they can then blame the landlord, they would then be the ones allowing the landlord’s property to be damaged, devaluated, and destroyed.
May 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm
To Everything there is a reason… Please let us all join together and plant the seed of hope within the Avian world for a positive outlook on life for our Feathered Friends. Lets not throw blame on those that tried to “help” , but let’s help the ‘HELPERS” THANK YOU, Jan
May 14, 2012 at 8:09 pm
BTW, I posted Dr Burge’s observations on the WOTR opage last night, and was deleted and banned, and also on Broken Wing, also, deleted, banned, rash talked, and today,.this is a hoot.accused of sending a threat through an anonyous emailer that HSUS would be after him next. That was pretty amusing 9esp since by his own account, the “threatening email” came before he ‘removed” me from his page, where i was using a fake name…uhh..it was Judith Archer, I’m not at ALL sure how he made the connection.) You know at some point, I’d like a vacation from Crazyville aka Facebook.
May 15, 2012 at 3:51 am
What does Broken Wing have to do with this case? And why would you post this information on the Broken Wing page? Just asking…
May 15, 2012 at 11:13 am
Because he was publicly issuing statements that he was supporting WOTR, and suggesting it was all caused by one “disgruntled former volunteer” and there were no problems there. So I posted Dr burge’s first hand observations of conditions there, and the conditions of the birds.
May 15, 2012 at 6:09 am
It is too late and pointless to get into a blame game, point fingers, and make accusations in this case. The only point is the BEST interest of “the” birds, not “my” or “our” birds. If after reading the comment on the Facebook page for Burge Bird Rescue on an initial assessment of the conditions of the birds and environment, a person feels it is the best interest of these birds to be returned to WOTR, this person is indeed a person out of touch with reality. You have to get out of the “martyr” and “saint” mode to really do what is best for these birds. I do not doubt that the people at WOTR loved and cared for the birds given what they had. It was a better environment from where most of these birds came from. But there are indeed other people from the outside who want what is best for them as well and fully qualified to determine this like the avian vets. But you also must realize that love can be blind and this is true of any animal neglect/abuse/hoarding situation and not just this case. This can cloud your judgment where what you think is best for the birds really is hurting them. You try to play “God” to save an animal by prolonging its life just to give it a chance when in fact it would be better to humanely euthanize it than allow it to suffer until death. To me, the WOTR supporters trying to get the birds back are only serving their own interests. Changing the facility or asking for even more money will not change the overall situation. In my opinion, it would require an overall of removing the people in charge, getting outside resources that know birds involved, doing periodic inspections, etc to avoid another situation like this. I prayed to God for the Troy birds to not be returned to their owner; I am praying now that these wonderful birds are given a chance elsewhere and not returned to WOTR
May 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm
Due to the lawlessness of the Troy Case, there is still a possibility of Douglas Ratcliff to get his birds back. He is still taking as much action as he can in court. You still need to pray for the birds of Troy.
May 15, 2012 at 7:49 am
Adam Parascandola, director of animal cruelty investigations for The HSUS said in a statement that the air inside Wings Over the Rainbow was so noxious that he had difficulty breathing. I will give WOTR credit in that they at least didn’t hide the fact that they hoard birds and Deborah Shell collects large birds- at the very beginning of the mission statement it said they either find new homes or keep the birds- well the birds come in and almost never go out.
Shell and her apologists knew that HSUS was investigating- they had been warned to clean up, but being hoarders they couldn’t help themselves- especially Shell and her ‘pet’ collection. Wayne Pacacelle was 100% correct in that these birds were just rotting away at WOTR. In regards to the online petition to bring back WOTR- LMFAO- Deborah Shell couldn’t even be allowed a goldfish.
May 15, 2012 at 8:25 am
Poor birds. So sad they had to languish in that place for so long. I hope to God they don’t get those birds back, or start collecting other birds. Good for the HSUS for stepping in. Organizations like HSUS don’t step in until the very last moment…..and it has to be bad. I know this much from experience in working at a Humane Society. We were not government funded. We would try every other avenue first. We were the last resort. And our animals got the care they would need, and other reputable rescues would come to help. I’m thinking now that the birds are in a much cleaner, safer and healthier environment than they were at wotr …………………..
May 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm
This noxious air comment is absurd, but typical of the HSUS types…these people are out of touch about the reality of birds. I would not take ONE WORD from any HSUS person as factual. Their agenda is all I would trust:
NO EXOTIC PETS…THEY ALL BELONG IN THE WILD.
What could be more clear than that agenda?
And as for Wayne Pacelle, this guy made a big point in the past of saying how he grew up without any interest in or feeling for animals…now he writes about the human animal bond and shows off his “new” pets! It would be laughable if it wasn’t such a serious propaganda ploy to get the support of pet owners….at least those who know nothing about the real background of HSUS.
Hoarders…that is the latest word for anyone with more than two birds…or animals. Call them a hoarder and that does the job…turns them into a wretch.
I do not know Deborah Shell and I cannot comment about her. But, it is clear to me that some are trying to demonize her. This is not the Troy birds case!
The basic questions remain: Were these birds basically in good health?(Unless they arrived in bad condition…that is another matter.) Were these birds being fed and watered daily, and cages cleaned as needed? Those are the right questions to ask. Not whether or not the manager was a hoarder. That is a psychiatric professional’s diagnosis, not a label you just apply when someone has a number of animals. When you have seen the facility of a real hoarder, then WOTR might just look like a haven for birds! It isn’t about numbers, it is about the overall situation and the mental acuity and mind state of the owner.
May 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm
Laurella, it was not fit for even a human to be there much less 100+ birds. There were mice all over and even roaches. The smell was very bad. I do not even know how Deb Shell stood to live there. I do not want to bad mouth her either and pass judgement. But it was madness. WOTR made choices, bad ones, including Deb to live there. Those birds had no choice.There was another bathroom which was used, it was clean and usable.The smell was bad too. My clothes always smelled after volunteer cleaning and sometimes when I just visited for a short while with the bird I was sponsoring. Have you read the Burge Bird Rescue webpage on their comments? I was nauseated after reading because I volunteered at WOTR mostly financially in the last year and visiting a sponsor bird. The HS is not making this up.
May 15, 2012 at 9:03 pm
I have not read the Burge Bird Rescue webpage….I don’t even know where it is located. I did note in your message that there was a clean usable bathroom. I imagine that was what was used, not the one that was closed off.
With a hundred birds in one large area, without a powerful in/out fan system, you are going to have some smells…no question about that. Most closed indoor facilities with which I am familiar have “muffin” fans which are small, quiet and very powerful, capable of moving the entire air out of a large area in one hour. It is unlikely that this facility had that kind of air exchange, since it was rented and the landlord likely not interested in remodeling for a fan system.
I hope in future if they or other sanctuaries build a facility, that they ASK questions of the knowledgeable bird breeding community and learn how they can set up a very workable system. Generally speaking, some fans are set about six inches about the floor, into the wall, and exhaust air. Other fans set into the wall at a higher location bring IN air. Normally that is not how house fans are set up. Fans in houses are commonly set up to exhaust heated air in the ceiling or roof, sometimes thru windows.
BUT, in the case of an animal or bird facility, you are looking to exhaust “dirty” air from the floor area without pulling it up past the birds since you don’t want them to breathe the dirty air!!! This is just a very general description of the in/out air system. Too bad that more rescue and sanctuary facilities do not follow the Model Aviculture Program guidelines for facilities…that would make a huge amount of difference in their success.
May 16, 2012 at 6:02 am
The WOTR situation is just a sympton of the overall problem, at least in Ohio, in lack of guidelines, regulations, etc on rescue facilities. I believe in the last few years had the authorities the right to enter and seize into canine/feline rescues. However I do believe this is a case of hoarding whether intended or not at WOTR. Again I am not trying to judge Deb Shell and WOTR that is up to the court to decide. It is the responsibility and accountability of the board and owner as caretakers of the birds in their charge. As stated elsewhere, they did know the HS was looking into them. Is it not their responsibility then to seek help instead of perpetuating the situation even if that meant that they willing closed down the place themselves? Donation request and requests for help for cleaning cages were always on their Facebook page. But when you have major issues like the mouse infestation, that was not reported that I saw on the Facebook page and they trying to seek help from the outside. Too many of their supporters probably did not see this unless you did volunteer to clean.
I just hope that this situation and the recent Troy parrot situation really would be an eye-opener in this state which from my research is grossly behind in regulations for dogs, cats, and other exotics. Too many birds are being bred; I have actually seen them being sold at a flea market here in Ohio. Too many are being sold at auction at local bird shows. We have a local mall that has a pet shop selling mostly puppies and dogs. Some days, the stench is so bad and filters out into the mall itself.
I also hope the HS of GD wins their case and works with other avian rescues to find the proper caretakers for the birds.
May 15, 2012 at 5:12 pm
It’s both sad and revealing that Sher Patrick is spending time posting defensively on here and on Facebook instead of either assisting the HS with the parrots or writing a public apology. Is this a pathological level of denial, or is this a shameless and undignified attempt at “spin?”
WOTR has money for a lawyer (according to a news report) but they didn’t have money for decent bird care? I hope the prosecutor uses WOTR’s Facebook posts as evidence of fraud and negligence — begging for donations to pay the rent, claiming the birds’ food costs per month were astronomical, admissions that Deborah Shell slept in the building on a regular basis, etc.
May 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm
Very special parrots and volunteers at Wings Over The Rainbow
May 23, 2012 at 12:20 am
I am in and out of WOTR on a regular basis. I witnessed the care and dedication given to all of the birds every single time I went in. There were rarely any bad smells, or any messes that were not immediately taken care of. I saw with my own eyes how birds that had been horribly abused improved on a daily basis. They were in the process of trying to obtain a better building. All of my donations were logged at the time they were made, and all the birds were demonstratively happy. Whereas the seizure of the Troy parrots was violently justified, and the last I heard, the owner stll retains some of the remaining birds, this action was totally unwarranted. The Humane Society took no special measures to identify the birds with special needs or even find out their names, and now 5 birds have died in their custody, as was released today during court proceedings. I am appalled by these biased media statements and the vitriolic blackness being heaped upon Wings by people who never set a foot through the doors.
May 23, 2012 at 6:51 am
What we are witnessing with the humane society is typical. They have LITTLE interest in the welfare of the birds. This is about GETTING the birds. And the worst is they have little knowledge of proper care of birds. We have seen this is too many of these unnecessary seizures where the humane society or animal control feeds large macaws finch food and lories pellets and cages the birds together in too small cages. AND, they want NO advice for knowledgeable people. It isn’t about caring for the birds, it is about taking away the birds. I hope bird lovers begin to see what is going on across the US. Some individuals are fighting back with lawsuits and WINNING because these seizures often involve the authorities not following the law. Just because a humane society person SAYS there is an abusive situation, that does not make it so. Especially when their expertise is so minimal as to be shocking. This local humane society has obviously been “educated” by the national HSUS and that means they have an agenda that is not pro-animal, but pro-animal rights. The ones that will suffer are the birds. Likely more will die under the wonderful loving care of the local humane society. IMO they should be responsible for their abuse of these birds. IF they really cared, the authorities would have said: WOTR this is what you need to do and you have xx days in which to do it. We will be back to check. That process would have been the best for the birds.
But, the issue wasn’t what was best for the birds…it was about taking away the birds. If some die in the process, well, they are just “better off” according to the HSUS cult belief system, since they had “no quality of life” at WOTR. However, I doubt that the birds felt that way about it.
May 23, 2012 at 8:03 am
Luckily the EXPERTS that traveled in from many states are providing the EXCELLENT care these poor birds have NEVER had at Wings. This place was a horror show from day one…
Just pray she stays gone this time- it’s about the 6th time she’s been closed down and had charges for neglect.and DON’T listen to the people she had on staff- these birds were starved, sick, neglected, filthy- it was as bad as it can be, for years. saw it all myself many times. i filed at least 5 complaints for cruelty over the years myself- and it took like 10 years but they FINALLY stepped in!I can give you ten people who have been in in the last 6 months-people in the pet industry who know what they are seeing. i know people were trying, but this place was a hell on earth for birds- birds torn to bits by other birds- birds strangled to death by the owener- birds burned and left to die by ignorant volunteers-child labor issues- zoning issues- CONSTANT sick birds that NEVER saw an AVIAN vet. It goes on and on. I hope she gets jailtime- and she will NEVER get those birds back. Deborah strangled a cockatoo with burned feet in front of the owner of a bird store that i worked for. the burned babies were crop burned by incompetent underage volunteers. one of my employees was a volunteer and watched them die. she also sold two birds that were boarded with her without permisson- police had to be involved to get them back. I was personally there when 4 stolen birds were found in her posession-and she tried to charge the owners 500 to get them back- police put an end to that pretty quick. I was there. She was banned from our store after she started telling other customers that she could psychically communicate with dead birds ghosts-she tossed a boarded quaker in with several amazons in an overcrowded cage- there wasn’t much left of the poor guy the next morning- I saw the photos. Even her board of directors was saying there were serious issues and neglect this last winter- I was even asked if I would testify against the rescue in court-but now they will deny all that of course- circle the wagons and all.
Board Member from WOTR to me in NOVEMBER 2011
Hi Kristy. I know we haven’t spoken in a while but I need a favor. I need whatever information you have about Wings Over The Rainbow that made you disagree with what they do. We are having problems with them too and we just want to know what others have experienced.
What are you doing right now? We would like to get this recorded for the other board members? The others that are highly involved haven’t been around as long as us. She is beginning to hold birds over people’s head to make them do what she wants.
Would you be willing to testify to the board members on our sides and in court if we can make it go that far? She took one of our foster macaws back and stuck her in a tiny ass cage that is not fit for a macaw.
What are you doing tomorrow around 10 am? Which greenwing do you like?
So sorry we didn’t listen to you earlier.
This is C**** I’m acted as M*** secretary. If you would like to talk to us call (***)***-****. We’re not sleeping any time soon now.
If you just want to talk to M*** tomorrow any time that will work. We can start getting the info together and decided who will be on our side.
May 23, 2012 at 10:07 am
Cammie, thank you for your inner perspective on the case. I might not be liked by the following observations, but I thought I’d weigh in on what I saw. The video of the seizure itself, the birds had decent, albeit not the best, food and water. According to the needs of a seizure, it has to be found that the birds were in a chronic state of no food or water, starvation, obvious neglect, etc. If it is not documented as obvious, WOTR has a case against HSUS. Disease happens regardless of mice or rats or cockroaches present. Yes, they are a disease vector and they are dirty, but there were traps to remove the animals, which shows intent. It does not look like the birds were in a state of starvation. Nor were they in immediate danger outside of the fact that diseased birds were housed in direct contact with healthier ones. Do we even know what diseases the birds died of?
If you have $100K or more or around that figure in donations, that is more than enough money to change locations and significantly improve conditions. The fact that money is coming in and continuing to come in without proper channels is fraud. There were not hundreds of birds there. Food does not cost that much, especially if you are a 501 as many food manufacturers donate food.
The birds of Troy had absolutely nothing going for them but death. The most appalling case I know of not just because of the care the owner did, but what the justice system did in response in addition of the lack of response from any outside source inclusive of HSUS. Where were they if they are so interested in saving birds? OH, he did not have 100K or more…. No, the owner does not retain any birds at this juncture. In fact, once this next case resolves, further action will be taken against the owner because of his responses in court and causes duress, libel, etc, toward the rescue effort and those involved.
Yes, this is HSUS at its finest. Which frankly, is appalling. It looked like that cherry head (or was it a mitred), was very, very sick. The possibility of survival looked bleak. What do you know of that bird? The bird who had the buddy standing over it?
May 23, 2012 at 10:45 am
I think what this discussion also highlights is that although we all have the best interests of the birds at heart, we are not all availed of the actual facts of the case, only conjecture, speculation, photos and news stories. I find it frightening that people would be so willing to jump to conclusions that a rescue (or a person) should have its birds removed on the basis of rumors and photos and even mount campaigns to have it done. Whether we agree with the outcome or not, investigations are done and the investigators have access to information and mitigating circumstances that are not always shared with others. It is even more frightening that this sort of behavior is carried out with respect to individual bird owners, and me along with many bird people who have confided in me are afraid to even post photographs of our birds for fear that some people will mount a witch hunt because they don’t like the toy or cage or think more money should be spent on bird rooms or veterinary care. While there is in fact a minimum standard of care, let us ALL remember that there is a spectrum of parrot care that is perfectly acceptable to the parrot, and that not everyone has to hold YOUR standard to be providing adequate and healthy care for the birds. I wish Patricia would do a story on this subject, because I am personally weary of seeing self-righteousness undermine the genuine plight of birds in ACTUAL need.
August 30, 2012 at 11:55 pm
As far as the food goes, I bought food there on a regular basis and it was miles better than anything I could get elsewhere. My amazon loved it and I never had any trouble with insects in it like I have other places. I can honestly say that I was very impressed with the cleanliness there. Several times I noted Deb make younger volunteers rewash bowls she didn’t think were clean enough. The vacuum cleaner was always running and frankly, it smelled a whole lot better there than any chain pet store I’d ever seen. I was delighted with the place from day one. I have even plopped down on the floor and played with some of the birds, and never thought a thing about it.
I can’t comment on all the birds, as I had my favorites, but I do remember clearly everything that was done to save Casey. I remember the grey that had picked herself bare before coming to wings and was finally growing them back. If I had ANY concerns about that place AT ALL. I would never have set foot back in the door.
Just to be clear. I have no affiliation at all with WOTR. I’m not friends with the owner or the board. I neither adopted a bird there (although I would) nor volunteered. I am a customer, and a demanding one, at that. Those birds were so well taken care of, both physically and emotionally, I was completely shocked by the news of the raid.
One final note: if the HS would do this, don’t think they wouldn’t come and take your beloved family dog or your child’s fat and sassy pony, (show me a barn or even a house that doesn’t have a mouse take up residence sooner or later) and there is not a damn thing you can do about it.
May 23, 2012 at 7:27 am
Now, five of our birds are dead. Euthanized or died in surgery which our vet told us would happen? Died from the stress of the seizure? They took birds with no history on those birds and thought they knew better. Now five are dead. How many more before they are done? All the disabled birds? Aggressive birds? Will only the perfect birds survive? Wings wasn’t born for the perfect birds. We were there for the ones nobody wanted.
May 23, 2012 at 8:07 am
Which “vet”? Deborah used to lie and claim she was a vet…or do you mean the dog and cat vet in town with NO avian training that you occasionally used. I have a friend that was one of his techs- you brought in less than 1% of your birds. Most were NEVER vetted AT ALL. And, some of the birds I saw myself had been let go so far that they were suffering terribly. At this point sending them “over the rainbow” is the only option that isn’t continued cruelty.
Kristy- in the bird/ pet industry for 13 years now-ten of them spent PRAYING this place would close down and stay gone. poor birdies, so sorry it took so long for then to get busted.
May 23, 2012 at 11:55 am
No birds were euthanized, ABVP-board certified avian vets struggled to save them from what WOTR allowed happen to them, Funny, WOTR wants a pass on everything becuase “These birds were sick when she took them in!”..and failed to get them vet care..and allowed them to die beucase it was “In God’s hands now, let’s all pray and light candles.” SO..when even world-class avian verts cannot save birds that WOTR left to die…unvetted..suddenly we hear this level of lie? I’m actually surprised that they have not yet had to euthanize birds, since at som e point, when the situiation is hopeless, no cure is possible, and the animal is greatly suffering,,euthanasia is what we would most all want for ourselves.
August 31, 2012 at 7:23 am
FYI Judith. One was euthanized and three died during exam including one during a blood draw. One died from a bowel perforation during surgery. You just don’t know everything. Every one of those birds would be alive today and fine except for the raid. End of discussion.
August 31, 2012 at 7:32 am
The birds were stressed to death. Literally. Except for the one euthanized during surgery…the parakeet with the huge tumor. Really? They had to try to get that tumor out. He was a hospice bird. And the oops with the cockatiel. And the greenwing that died stressing over the needle stuck in her veins after being stressed by strangers seizing her. Really. My heart is shattered over the horrific deaths of birds who died terrified. The raid didn’t have to happen. There were other avenues that could have been taken.
August 31, 2012 at 10:23 am
Your version of events. In time the necropsy reports will with luck, be made public for all to see for themselves.
August 31, 2012 at 10:36 am
Fact. Based on official documents.
May 23, 2012 at 9:40 am
Some facts about the HSUS seizure that folks seem to be forgetting, neglecting or ignoring:
1. This was not a HSUS operation. The investigation started locally, more than a year ago. Animal control knew that they did not have the resources, knowledge, finances or expertise to plan and implement a seizure of this size. The HSUS came in at their request. HSUS’ is not “in charge” of the birds. They will not euthanize. They will not make the birds disappear.
2. Because the HSUS emergency response team needed people with avian experience they paid to bring in some very respected bird people: Dr. O, Dr Burge, Matt Smith, Rick VanTuyl, and others who know birds and have decades of experience.
3. There have been claims that bonded birds were “ripped apart”. If you view the HSUS footage, you will see that they were labeling each and every crate. Birds that were housed together were noted, and will continue to be together.
4. The health of many of the birds was severely compromised. Many more than 5 would have died within a short period of time. Many of the birds needed fluids, nare flushes and immediate medical attention. Many were in extreme respiratory distress.
5. The people who are feeding, cleaning and watering the birds are bird people. They are actually putting thier own flocks at risk, as they could be bringing home some very nasty diseases to their own birds. The facts about what is wrong with the WOTR birds will come out in court, I am sure.
Finally. I have a question. In a newspaper article from 2009 there were, according to the Shells, about 400 birds on site. Last year when the investigation started there were close to 400 birds on site. When the birds were siezed there were 139. Where did the rest of those birds go? My question to WOTR is: how many birds have died in your care in the past year? Be honest and let people know just how many you have lost due to your refusal or inability to seek competent avian vet care. How many birds have died??????
May 23, 2012 at 9:58 am
And another FYI – The Humane Officer in charge of the investigation has been in touch with avian experts for months. She needed to make sure she was doing things in the best possible way for the birds. She asked questions about everything from housing to toys. This was not a fly by the seat of your pants operation. Contrary to WOTR policy, which was to soundly rebuff any offers of help or resources from other bird rescues, Sheila was happy to accept any help offered.
May 23, 2012 at 10:14 am
I’m glad they were investigated properly and for a duration of time. I was just going by what HSUS showed and their name being on things makes me reel backwards, despite the fact they were fundamentally helpful in providing financial and volunteer assistance in this case. I still remain steadfast, where were they for TROY if their intentions are so humble? It’s hard to judge by what we see in the distance, therefore, we should not be the ones to judge.
Either way, WOTR has some explaining to do. Despite the possibility of having a case, they have some serious potential for fraud. Especially given the fact they had so much money coming in and the birds were in bad shape as far as compromised and left to be out with other birds without the care of a vet when they came in to seize. So, hopefully, that alone, vs, the typical court battle around only needing clean food and water, which I wholly do not agree with, will be enough of evidence to bring justice forward.
May 23, 2012 at 11:13 pm
Okay. Now, IF your avian experts include Matt Smith, then I fear for the lives of those birds. What avian educational conference did Smith ever attend? What avian seminar did he ever attend? What avian educational experience has he ever acquired? Has he even read ONE book on aviculture? From all reports, this man is an expert in how to set up a rescue and ask for donations….which could be said for many rescues and is unfortunate for the welfare of the birds. This does not provide one with the expertise to know much about bird care.
I guess he just learned it all on his own. Or maybe he learned it while working at a rescue somewhere! Give me a break. The only experts I saw on your list were the avian veterinarians! Vets know their business, but they do not necessarily know everything about bird care and handling.
One thing we all know is that birds do best with routines. They like what is familiar. And, they can be quite stressed by being captured and kenneled amidst a huge turmoil of sounds and activities…every second their stress level is rising. Those that already have poor health are those that will be most impacted by the seizure. That is why seizing in place with recommendations for improvements is better for birds.
Finally, IF this seizure is about the welfare of the birds, then why would the local humane society refuse to return birds to their proper owners which would certainly be best for those birds????? That is an interesting question.
May 23, 2012 at 11:33 pm
Maybe next time you could just go to the scene and tell everyone else how to do it all, including your expertise on landlord/tenant law and so on. As it happens, while you keep writing the same screeds over and over, based on nothing but your opinions and usually erroneous guesses about what is going on, the Parrot Posse has just shipped over 200 pounds of high-quality food to Ohio, with a balance tailored to what is most needed for these birds, as they are transitioned from not just an all seed diet, but an all seed diet of extreme low quality..and I base that on WOTR’s own photos of their food bowls, not guesswork or prejudice or bias. While you carry on, we help the birds. It is what the Parrot Posse does. Maybe you should try doing somethng useful yourself some day.
May 24, 2012 at 7:19 am
And just how do you happen to know what I do that is useful each day? I do spend a lot of my day on VOLUNTEER work for birds and animals. A portion of which includes working with individuals who have been wrongly accused of abuse or neglect in order to provide “funds” and positive PR to animal controls and humane societies who perform “theft under color of law” in seizing animals and birds from good responsible owners.
When agencies seize animals and birds, and do not know how to do the job, the birds and animals are the ones that suffer. As far as the HSUS knowing what to do, I understand their top “expert” in birds and animals gave a thumbs up to the procedures when he was present in Portland Tennessee as the ARC team ran into the building, wearing masks and screaming. Now if that is the way you seize domestic parrots, that is news to me. One bird died during that little “raid” to save birds….likely scared to death by such obscene behavior.
So, based on the case histories, I remain unimpressed with animal control agencies and humane societies who are bent on seizing birds and animals instead of practicing “seize on site” and remedy the problems. The latter saves the birds and animals from stress and shock and death.
May 24, 2012 at 10:05 am
“Seize on site”, really? Saves on stress? Tell that to the Troy Birds. They were “seized on site” otherwise known as an in-house impound. There was no way the birds should have stayed in that building more than one minute, it was so bad. If the building itself is bad as far as causing overt disease or distress, no way should “seize on site” be considered. In this case, unlike the Tennessee case, the seizure was based on a year’s worth of data collected by various sources by the Humane Officer. She consulted the Board Certified Avian vets, not HSUS, before the seizure to ask the best method or use of the law she could do to maximize the birds’ health and safety. There were several complaints. Whether they were legitimate, could be in question. There were birds present who were literally dying, for certain. Especially that conure. Was there nothing that could be done for that bird? I don’t think so. It should have been at a vet or euthanized to be put out of it’s obvious misery. It could not move. How would you like to live where you are holding on by a thread in total pain with no one to give you pain medicine to help the pain, you’re just left to die? That is what it looked like with that one bird alone. It was in no condition to be left unattended outside of an incubator with o2 on it. That bird was horribly sick. It was probably one of the ones that died right away.
May 24, 2012 at 8:22 am
Seems that you do not get it Laurella. The conditions in that building were so poor that the birds were at risk. Would you let your birds live in conditions where roaches and mice walked around on the food or in the cages? I would not. The local humane society is bound by the law. Once the birds were seized, they became “wards of the court” and it is up to the court to decide to release birds to their owners, not the humane society. But of course, you know that with all of your legal knowledge.
Hoever, to be honest, I have to wonder if those people should get their birds. I question their judgement leaving them in in a place like that. Would anyone with half an ounce of judgement even walk into a place like that and still leave their bird? Just saying.
May 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm
I have been reading everything I can on this. The main problem, with the writings, some people are just repeating the same thing over and over again. If you’re going to write something, how about new information for a change? I know where I live, animal control investigates, gives warning, comes back to check if things were changed and it goes from there. Anyone can make a mistake, but when it’s pointed out, should be changed and not happen again.
May 23, 2012 at 10:50 pm
And what happens if the landlord doesn’t repair the facility? How is that the fault of the tenant? If the landlord allows roof leaks, holes in the wall from which mice have access to the facility, how is that the fault of the tenant? Tenants by law are not allowed to make physical changes to the buildings they rent, unless that is a part of the contract. So, why is a messy UNUSED bathroom being made such a big issue?
This is where I have a problem. We see this over and over with these seizures…claims of dirty bowls…and the seizing authorities have to go outside and find an empty unused cage with a dirty water bowl and that is the one they photograph! IF there is good reason to seize animals or birds, there should be no reason to provide “spin doctored” photos and other remarks. Yet, that is what we consistently see being presented.
As for the local humane society, I wouldn’t believe a thing they say…just WHAT expertise do they have with exotic birds??? Heck, most aren’t even able to identify different breeds of dogs and cats, much less birds! The vets do their job on examining birds…but the humane society is the entity that is caring for the birds on a day to day basis. And who knows how they are caging and feeding them?
Who are they taking advice from? If anyone? Oh, yes. Feed them 80 % pellets the vets will say. That is all well and good IF the birds are used to eating pellets. If not, some will simply sit in the cage and STARVE. That has happened in these cases. Right now I think we need to be worried about the care these birds are receiving…and then, NOT to return birds belonging to owners who boarded birds there? Well, the humane society doesn’t own those birds! As an owner, I would be furious at the handling of my birds by these people.
May 24, 2012 at 8:25 am
I cannot speak to the laws in Ohio, but in CO if a landlord refuses to take care of conditions like were in that building, it is legal for the person to walk away and break the lease and sue the landlord for the return of their deposit.
Why don’t you just go to Ohio Laurella and show those bird folks and avian vets how to do things? Put your money and time where your mouth is instead of sitting thousands of miles away and sniping.
May 25, 2012 at 5:29 pm
I’ll be brief. I have been a frequent visitor to WOTR over the past 5 years. I was in WOTR just a few weeks before the birds were taken. The smell was overwhelming, the place was filthy. No one was there cleaning up, as I walked through to visit the birds I noticed that the water in most of the cages was obviously old and dirty, the cages were dirty. Some of the usually more “social” birds were too quiet and some appeared ill. Then the birds were taken. The Saturday after the seizure I stopped by and helped to finish cleaning out the place. The smell was still awful. Everything left in the building was covered with mouse droppings, we turned over a large “tree” type stand to move it and the base quite literally “exploded” with large cockroaches scurrying everywhere. It was, at least to me, far worse than any of the pictures or videos shown on tv. I went to help unload the semi trailer that held the cages and supplies and when they opened the back door of that trailer the smell hit you like a slap in the face. As we unloaded and stacked things in the storage room roaches, other bugs and even a mouse ran out of one of the boxes. I don’t think I need to say anymore.
May 25, 2012 at 6:01 pm
Laurella- I’ve been working my way through all these posts. Trust me, it was almost impossible to breathe in there. I know a little about breathing and noxious air, as a nurse/firefighter/paramedic I’ve give my nose a good workout over the years.
May 28, 2012 at 10:19 am
Leah I saw the same things you saw before the seizure. You seem to be one of the who have the blinders removed. I was a WOTR supported until the seizure. I stopped the cleaning volunteer work because of the conditions. I don’t care how many people say somebody was always cleaning at WOTR, there were still dead/life mice and roaches inside. How clean will it ever get then? I sponsored a bird and dropped off items every few weeks. Some days my clothes did stink after being in there just a few minutes. I have a lot of sympathy for Deb for what has happened but hope they do not get the birds back. If the birds are returned to WOTR w/o a major overhaul to the rescue (remove people in charge, etc), we are only returning them back to the situation they left. On the day of the seizure, authorities involved including zoning, health, and mental health.
May 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm
Bridget I’m sure there a lot of people who saw these things and for whatever reason did not speak up or were rebuffed if they did. What I find interesting about the whole thing is that the “supporters” really don’t like the suggestion that “one of their own” may have been the one who complained and got the ball rolling on the investigation. If indeed there is a whistleblower out there than God for him/her and the courage to speak up.
May 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm
Whoops, THANK GOD! if someone within the organization blew the whistle.
May 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm
I do no tknow who made the first complaint, I can only say with no doubt that no, this seizure was NOT based on any ONE complaint, but on repeated informal “inspections” takign place at least once a week for many months, with the foundation carefuly laid down, and then law enforcement, and then the HSUS/PetsMart Charites, being brought in in the final stages.
May 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm
I don’t know who was first either, but I’m grateful that someone was. I am also pleased that an investigation was done so thoroughly. It takes time to coordinate that many agencies, not only to plan the removal, but the aftercare as well. I rarely make assumptions about anything, but do believe that thorough documentation had to have been done prior to the removal of the birds and that when brought out in court the evidence of the ongoing decline in conditions will speak for itself. Channel 7 news did a follow up story on the roach invasion that is now going on at the homes and businesses that were in close proximity to WOTR, along with the mice they’re looking for a new place to feed and breed.
June 21, 2012 at 9:22 pm
I was driving through Moraine about a year ago, on a yearly visit to Dayton where I grew up. I happened to see the storefront of WOTR. I had been reading the websites of various well-known sanctuaries for years already, since I am interested in parrots and have three of my own. I decided to go in and visit this sanctuary out of curiosity and feelings of sympathy (I ended up happily donating $110). My impressions: 1) lots of birds, a little messy, OK, but few other individuals or organizations will even take on birds. I think there is even less funding for unwanted bird care than there is for the care of unwanted dogs and cats. I have unfortunately visited in a number of bird-owning homes that were dirty and cramped, occupied by stinky dogs or cats, and even cigarette smokers, and the pet birds were seldom or never let out of their cages. The space of WOTR was crowded with cages, but the cages were roomy, and a number of the birds were outside of their cages.. 2) Smell? I don’t remember a really strong smell at WOTR. I did, however, work as a volunteer dog walker at my local Humane Society, and the everyday odors of the dog kennel and the cat room – even though both areas were scooped or hosed down every day – were enough to clear out anyone’s sinusus, but everyone seemed to ignore those smells just fine. The fact is, anyplace where a lot of animals are kept in an enclosed area, is going to have a smell. On a bad-smell scale of 1 to 10, WOTR was maybe a 3 and the HS was a 9! 3) Deb and helpers seemed caring and concerned. They had an Amazon there that had had a foot burned off by some #*!, and Deb had taken it to the vet for treatment. What remained of its leg was a bandaged stump and she let me gently hold this bird.
I swung by WOTR a few days ago on this year’s visit to Dayton and was startled to see the building empty – and all fixed up, and a full dumpster out front. I was shocked to read of what had happened. One of the first thoughts I had was, What if the HS was motivated by the thought of the revenue to be raised by collecting adoption fees for over 100 parrots? Also, I agree with other comments on here about the landlord needing to be responsible for fixing leaks and making rodent control efforts. Maybe he was just hoping WOTR would leave so he could gussy up the place and put it out for more rent to a different tenant..
This incident made me think of a well-known cockatoo sanctuary in Washington State, at which the owner has built a number of outdoor aviaries. Each aviary contains birds of only one species. They bond with each other, love living together as a flock, and instead of tending dozens of cages, the owner sets out one pan of food and one of water, and that serves all the birds in that aviary. So care and maintenance is much less time-consuming. I know that they use that system at the Oasis and Project Perry as well. Doesn’t that sound like the easiest way to set up a rescue? In an ideal world, one rescue in a given area could have one big aviary for cockatiels, and across town, someone else could have one for Quakers, and so on.
Anyway, I hope Ms. Shell and her supporters can get their birds back, and get help instead of slams.
June 21, 2012 at 9:54 pm
Wotr should not get the birds back. HSUS is helping and a good thing too.
June 22, 2012 at 5:36 pm
HSUS is helping…HAHA….not on your life! HSUS is garnering PR medals and that is about it. When every KNOWLEDGEABLE animal group, rescue, re-habber, breeder or pet owner knows the truth about the HSUS…they give them not even one cent. HSUS gives ONE PERCENT of all donations for animal care. That is just outrageous, as well as likely fraud (it was for the Katrina animals!), and surely is just plain evil if you really care about birds and animals.
June 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm
The simple fact is that in this case, HSUS did provide assistance with planning, personel, equipment, supplies, and funding
June 22, 2012 at 8:02 pm
Well, was that similar to the help they provided in Tennessee when the ARC team RAN into the building, SCREAMING at the birds, YANKING doors off cages and scaring the birds beyond all reason? It seems they were ably assisted by the HSUS “exotics expert” who stated they did a great job.
Results: some of those birds ended up at the Bailey Foundation…where they starved to death when the foundation director got tired of caring for the birds and animals and simply MOVED OUT to a new address…closed the doors, turned out the lights, turned off the heat…and moved on….leaving dogs, cats and birds to slowly starve to death. To me that is simply beyond despicable and falls more along the line of pure evil. There is no excuse for that behavior.
For the facts on HSUS, don’t take my word for it…try Nathan Winograd for one:
http://www.nathanwinograd.com/ Or ask some of the veterinarians who went to New Orleans to help ….they learned a lot about HSUS during their work there.
June 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm
Today the courts handed down 30 counts of cruelty to animals and torture/mutilation to Deborah Shell. Arraignment is on July 2nd. Even if all counts are thrown out, this will haunt and shadow Shell for the rest of her natural life. You can rest in peace now, Casey.
June 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm
Cases like this one should go a long way towards discouraging other people who love birds and quite selflessly want to go to all the effort and expense of establishing rescues or sanctuaries of their own. Not a good precedent in a nation where there are so many birds that go homeless and few regulations to keep too many breeders from continuing to pump out more and more birds for the pet trade.
June 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm
I would have to agree with Carol on this one. Knowing there are so few who are willing to get in and help and that there are far more willing to get in and dismantle is only going to serve as a warning to anyone who is crazy enough to think they can help. We turned away over 500 surrender requests since Jan 1 this year. Where are these birds going to go? Who is going to help? It still seems to me that if BF and HSUS put one billionth of their resources into the restructuring of such efforts the parrots would be the winners. I disagree with you Ellen. Casey cannot rest in peace until the pet trade in parrots is over. There are 10,000 Casey’s out there, another 10,000 yet to be hatched into a life of captivity and suffering.
June 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm
Until such time as rescues are regulated and these kinds of things cannot happen to birds, many rescues will form and provide substandard care. You hear places like AWC scream about breeders but ignore rescues. Standards should be set for both and those standards should be enforced. To be honest with you, I believe that the standards for rescues should be higher than those for breeders. Why? Because rescues who take in birds and donations and adopt birds out MUST be held to a higher standard than others because they are the ones making the decisions about the fate of birds.
June 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm
Not to worry…regulation is coming…for all who sell birds and adoption fees equate to sales since money changes hands…and I wonder if most rescues come anywhere near facility readiness as compared to professional breeding facilities. These regulations are likely going to close an awful lot of rescues.
Certainly many rescue orgs I have had contact with never even heard of quarantine…or simply ignore it. “Oh that little sick conure is so lonesome, I just put him right in with the rest of the conures so he will feel at home.”
Not kidding here…that happened at one of the “nicer” non profit rescuers with which I am familiar. So, it isn’t just knowledge, it is USING knowledge appropriately for the benefit of the birds.
June 22, 2012 at 8:54 pm
I will simply point out, since you reference Katrina, that Dr Burge, who spent more time in the area than any other vet I know of post-Katraina, also volunteered to be one of the vets doing triage and examinations at the WOTR sezire, so her first hand experience with them would seem to be at considerable variance with your opinioin.
June 23, 2012 at 10:58 am
Perhaps you need to ask her indepth questions about HSUS…if she is willing to respond. From the vets I personally know, and from the bird breeders who personally went there and worked there, they tell a far different story…and “it ain’t pretty” as they say. When the State Attorney had to threaten to sue the HSUS before they provided ONE PENNY of the millions they collected for Katrina animals, that says a lot. HSUS then built ONE shelter near New Orleans. That is all a matter of fact. Check it out.
June 23, 2012 at 11:04 am
Fact: HSUS assisted the Greater Dayton Humane Society (which is not affilaited with HSUS) in s this seizure. Fact: Dr Julie Burge, who probably did more to help post-Katrina than any other avian vet, assisted as well, knowing HSUS was involved. I do not have the time to run around “interviewing” Dr Burge but those are facts, whether you like them or not.
June 23, 2012 at 11:27 am
Stop breeding. Find a decent way to make a living. Please, I’ve heard all the bs arguments and excuses. Not interested. Stop breeding.
July 19, 2012 at 11:04 am
To Joanne Alexander. What arrogance. You ASSUME that people are all busy breeding birds to make a living! HAHAHA…MOST people who are breeding birds happen to enjoy birds. Most do not earn their living breeding birds. They HOPE to pay the costs of the keeping and care for the birds…as most earn their living at a regular job or have a retirement income. And, to imagine that birds will just breed and breed no matter what is very stupid. Not all pairs will breed every year or even every two or three years!!!
Most knowledgeable bird people recognize that IF birds are not being bred in captivity, many species are going to disappear. When one of the most respected men in conservation, Dr. Ullysses Seal, stated that there must be TWO means of saving species, then I think I am going to listen to a knowledgeable respected scientist, not some animal rights stooges. Dr. Seal indicated we need to conserve habitat and species in the wild AND we need to be doing captive breeding of most exotic species, from tigers to macaws.
Now breeding and caring for rehabbed birds does not mean all who are doing it are doing it well or appropriately. Some are not interested in learning how to properly house and feed specific species. And, unfortunately we do have SOME who think they can make a living on DONATIONS to their rescue facility! Not kidding. So, if you are going to imagine breeders are making a living on birds, you might do a little further research and see WHICH rescue operations are making a nice income on birds.
In one case, I think the IRS is after a couple who operate a sanctuary, as they were taking in birds, taking in huge donations on those specific birds, then euthanizing the birds and living a high life on their “sanctuary income”. They bought expensive automobiles, took cruises, and had no other income except donations. They were turned in to the IRS by their service worker who got fed up with what was going on. At this time I do not know the outcome of the case. This is a clue as to the ethics of some in the sanctuary and rescue business.
It has been reported to me that there are some “rescuers” in South Florida who are threatening local bird breeders that they are going to “get their birds” and in the process they are going to “use” a “lawyer” and also a major well known sanctuary. I have heard this comment from more than one person, thus I have to give it some credibility. Even the Florida officials state they have been contacted by the sanctuary in question…asking how many birds were involved in a local facility.
Now, this is really stepping way out of line…especially in a case where the birds were housed in huge flights and receiving excellent care and NOT ONE PLUCKED BIRD AT THE FACILITY! The inspected and permitted breeder must be doing something right with her cockatoos and macaws.
July 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm
Back to the rumor and hearsay again! Sure, there are bad rescues just as there are also stooges in the veterinary community! Talk about conflict of interest!
Hope you are all enjoying a nice summer!
July 19, 2012 at 7:39 pm
HI Marc, Well, we have a hot rainy summer and the birds all love it…they sing in the rain…even during the night when they hear it falling. During the day they hang upside down to enjoy the rain falling into their opened feathers… but at night they perch under cover.
Actually, I try to avoid repeating anything I am not absolutely sure about…which means it generally comes first hand from someone who experienced it…like being told that xxx lawyer is going to be after your birds and xxx sanctuary has already contacted officials about how many birds are involved. This information came straight from the individuals involved. Now, that doesn’t mean I am going to name names…that is not in my job description…LOL.
IMO there are some wonderful rescue facilities and wonderful sanctuary facilities and wonderful breeder facilities and wonderful pet owner facilities. Actually the good ones are in the majority IMO…but unfortunately they never make the news. The news is focused on drama, on bad stuff, and that has ever been the case with the human community….probably all the way back to the caves. Maybe focusing on bad stuff was a way for humans to warn the community so that the community could avoid harm and potential disaster.
July 19, 2012 at 9:20 am
This is a sad reality. I have tried to adopt from a rescue or two and their standards were so sky high i failed. I have a stable home. I provide the best food and care. But i was denied the opportunity to help. I ended up rescuing a parrot from 1500 miles away. 2 years later he’s transformed from a hostile distrustful ball of wrath to a happy funny affectionate guy. I would have loved to help a parrot from florida. But i guess some things happen for a reason and if their standards had been attainable, who knows where my poor ollie would have ended up. Still, how many suitable forever homes have been turned away on technicalities. There’s no such thing a perfect. But sometimes close enough is just fine.