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This store visit was originally made on
May 7, 2003
I visited a Petland in WV because someone called
to inform me that they had gotten about 45 parrot chicks in for sale.
I went in and shot some photos. While this situation is bad enough,
the phone call I later made to the store told the whole story.....
the MP3 Conversation Here
Download the Real Audio Conversation
Lets all keep one thing in mind: Petland isnt
doing anything illegal. As such there's
nothing much you can do except maybe e-mail or call
the home office in Ohio and
voice your opinion about selling 3-4-5 week old baby
birds to anyone with the cash.
I'm not blaming the guy on the phone either,
as he was doing his job as instructed I'm sure.
The breeder in Florida and the store owner are the
ones that should know better by now.
From Dr. Michael Doolen DVM
I don't blame you all for the reactions you
have to what Jerry found. I agree 100%
I just wish those who are considering
buying these babies, could see them as I do.
I see them when the new owner has failed miserably
to raise them to healthy young, independent birds. I see
them when they are malnourished, missmanaged,
stunted, suffering from every malady you can imagine that is caused by
inexperience and lack of brains and practiced skill. I find it maddening
that these people are
convinced that they are "easy" to feed. While
any dummy can learn to shove food at them, it takes years of exxperience
to raise them properly, wean then successfully, and manage them without
turning them into
miserable disasters. I repair at least 8 -
10 crop burns/month in the 3 or 4 months after the peak season for
babies (twice yearly - after Christmas and
late summer). I see so many crop stasis cases that I can't begin to
count them. I had one owner that burnt his
baby U2's crop 3 times in 8 weeks. I considered trying to have the
bird taken from him, but by the time I arrived
at that level of intolerence to his stupidity, I got a call letting me
know his bird had died on a Sunday night. He explained, with genuine tears
in his voice that the bird had become very sick that afternoon. We were
closed and when he called the emergency service we refer to when closed
(who actually do a good job with birds - I
train the vets (interns) who are there at night in exotic emergency protocols)
he informed me that he "didn't trust them with his baby like he trusted
me", so he watched his baby deteriorate all afternoon, thinking he would
bring him to me the following morning.
Well, late that night, he couldn't take it
anymore. He concluded that the baby was not going to make it the night
and he couldn't bear to see it suffer. He
decided to put an end to the bird's suffering. It ended up in the freezer.
Yes, the freezer.....
His method of
humane euthanasia. This was not an intellegent man - indeed, he was rowing
with but one oar,
but he did this with overwhelming love for
the bird. In fact, he didn't have the brain God issued a rock. The
really sad part of this is that he sincerely,
honestly thought he made the only choices he could possibly make
that afternoon. Before you judge his deserved
fate, I will tell you that he has promised me that he will never
own an animal again. He admits he is not capable
of dealing with the emotional trauma. I believe him. Besides,
he can't afford to go that direction again.
With the price of the bird and 2 cages, vet
bills for the surgeries, hospitalization, testing, etc., he lost (wasted)
around $7,500 of his wife's small inheritance from her father. His wife
left him and has told his 2 kids (human)
that he is a monster and won't let him see
them. This man is a complete wreck. As much as I despise what he
did, I still feel sorry for him and am just
that much more outraged that the store that sold him the bird in the
first place took advantage of him by convincing
him that this baby would be the best thing that ever happened
to him and his family.
The point is, the birds are not the only victims
here. Very often, their unsuspecting, inexperienced new "mom"
and "dad" suffer severe emotional and financial
loss, as well. Fortunately, I also know of several popular bird stores
that do screen their new owners and don't sell unweaned babies. One owner
has even been sued for
refusing to sell birds to people she didn't
think were going to take the responsibility and do things right. (she
hasn't lost a suit, either!) They resist the
temptation to sell "remedies", dispense medical advice, and actually encourage
new owners to come see me to learn how to care for their new bird. Before
there is a problem.
The tendency to be the "expert" and the "hero"
is being replaced by the feeling of responsibility to the bird
and to the new owner. If we could only convince
the corporate stores to begin to take this attitude, maybe we
would see less of this atrocity that Jerry
found so easily.
Dr. Michael Doolen
For those who cant hear the conversation,
here is the text.
This is xxxx. How may I help you?
Yes Sir. I'm interested in one of your cockatoos.
I believe you have an umbrella cockatoo baby there? I am curious: How long
does it take them to wean before you can sell them?
Before we can sell?
Oh no they are for sale now.
Oh they are???
Did you ever had a bird before?
No. I haven't.
Oh. Then. I have been around them a lot. Like
my whole life for a matter of fact. And the best time to ever buy
a bird is as a baby. Because you're going
to feed it and you're going to be mom and dad for it. And you get that
bond to it.
Are they hard to feed?
No. Not a lot. Not even a little bit.
Not even a little bit. Just like a little
baby. You think it more fragile than it really is. So they are ready to
So how old is the cockatoo now?
Oh there is six of them over there.
So what is the youngest?
The youngest of them was probably born in
In April - OK.
April 11th - Ok. So eh - almost about a month
old now. So you will sell any of them right now then?
Well great then. Thanks a lot. Bye bye