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San Benito
April 14, 2024

Impoverished, exotic parrot recovers after taken from San Juan home

An exotic parrot is recovering after authorities seized it from a San Juan Bautista home after finding it in poor health due to improper living conditions.

The Hollister Police Department, which oversees the animal control agency, released a statement Tuesday detailing the situation that arose in December.

Local authorities did not pursue any charges against the family from which the parrot was taken due to the situation.

“We opted not to press charges because it was a case where the previous owner had passed away,” said Animal Control Supervisor Kara Ells.

When that older resident died, his family took on the bird and “didn’t understand” how to care for it.

Ells called the parrot more of a tropical bird with such necessities as warmer temperatures, needing to be in a climate of 70-80 degrees at most times. She said the parrot was adopted by an out-of-county family with prior experience owning an exotic parrot.

“This is kind of a rare situation for us,” Ells said. “Usually we deal with dogs, cats and occasionally some livestock.”

According to the statement from the HPD, which oversees the local animal control operations:

Hollister Police Animal Care and Services conducted the seizure of an Eclectus Parrot that was kept in poor living conditions.

On Dec. 12, Hollister Police Animal Care and Services was contacted by Santa Cruz County Animal Control after they had received a report of a male Eclectus Parrot kept in improper living conditions in San Juan Bautista. City of San Juan Officials were advised of the situation and they requested Hollister Animal Control officers investigate.

Animal Control officers immediately responded and located the parrot in an unsanitary bird cage that was left outdoors in cold weather conditions. The bird had no access to clean water and was determined to have been fed an inappropriate diet for the species. The cage did not allow the bird any access to sunlight or adequate ventilation. The bird had a severely overgrown beak and nails, making it difficult for him to eat or perch. The bird was missing several feathers throughout its body, consistent with plucking and inadequate diet. Officers learned that the bird had been living in these conditions for several months. Due to the concern for the bird’s health, officers made the decision to immediately seize the parrot to seek immediate veterinary attention.

The parrot, identified as “Rocky”, was transported to a veterinarian for proper care. He was provided with a beak and nail trim to allow him to begin to perch and eat properly again. A veterinarian suspected his poor feather quality to potentially be associated with consistently improper diet, stress, and lack of socialization. After examination and treatment, “Rocky” was then transferred to the Hollister Animal Shelter to be cared for while Animal Control officers conducted an investigation for animal neglect.

During the course of the investigation, officers consulted with several avian resources including Mickaboo Bird Rescue, a 501(c)3 non profit rescue that specializes in the care of neglected, abused and injured exotic parrots.

On December 20, 2018 an administrative post seizure hearing was held to determine if the owner was authorized to regain custody of the bird. It was later determined by a hearing officer that “Rocky” should not be returned to his previous owner due to lack of basic care and concern for his well being.

Rocky’s road to recovery at the Hollister Animal Shelter went very well. While in the care of shelter staff, the bird continued to visit an avian veterinarian for routine beak and nail trims, and blood tests to ensure his health continues to improve despite his previous improper diet. He learned to imitate different species that pass through the Hollister Animal Shelter including chickens, dogs, and cats. He also enjoyed treats including fresh scrambled eggs, fruit, and basking in the sunlight.

Since being cleared from his veterinary examination and with the care advice provided by wonderful avian rescues, “Rocky” has been recently adopted to a new family who has experience with exotic Parrots, such as Eclectus. After suffering the loss of their previous bird, they heard “Rocky’s” story and decided that it would be a good fit for the both of them. “Rocky” will live out his days basking in his large cage, in the warm sunlight that he needs to thrive. His new father, recently retired, has already dedicated much of his time to building new perches and toys for “Rocky” to continue to provide him with the stimulation he requires as an advanced species of bird. Staff is looking forward to visits from “Rocky” and is grateful to know he has found a home dedicated to his well being.

Hollister Police Animal Care and Services would like to thank several parties including Santa Cruz County Animal Control, Wildlife Emergency Services, Mickaboo Bird Rescue, and the City of San Juan Bautista for their cooperation and assistance throughout this investigation.  

Animal Control officers would also like to remind others who may be interested in owning birds of the importance of researching the individual needs of each species before committing to ownership as many exotic species, such as Eclectus, may not be suitable for novice bird owners.