DETROIT, Mich. (WTVO) — Nearly 500 parakeets were dropped off at a southeast Michigan rescue shelter shortly before Christmas, with plans to return later with at least 50 more.
The large number of birds came from the son of an animal hoarder, according to the Detroit Free Press. The son reportedly called Kelley LeBonty, director of the 25-acre farm Detroit Animal Welfare Group, and said that he was going to surrender 80 parakeets that were at his father’s house.
However, when he showed up to the shelter on Thursday night, he showed up with 497 birds.
“He had them all in seven cages,” LeBonty said. “A very tight fit. They were kind of on top of each other and smothering each other. They were very very stressed. They were barely moving. We had to get them out and into different cages.”
The son said that his father had spent $1,200 a month to feed the birds, which he was keeping in one room of his house, according to LeBonty.
“His son said that he just wanted to breed a few of them, and it got out of control,” LeBonty said. “The problem is birds breed easily. And then you just have more babies and more babies and more babies if you don’t control the situation.”
While some of the birds were in good health, many of theme reportedly had eye and foot problms.
“They haven’t seen a vet yet because obviously it is Christmas, but definitely some of them are pretty sick,” LeBonty said.
Another area shelter took 220 of the parakeets, with a different shelter picking up more of the birds on Sunday. It will be about two to four weeks before they are ready for adoption, as LeBonty said that their health needs to be monitored.
With the sheer amount of parakeets now at the shelter, LeBonty said that it was lucky that someone had donated four large bags of parakeet food last month.
“I said, ‘We don’t get that many parakeets, I don’t know if I need that food,’ ” LeBonty said. “But I took it, and here we are. So I guess it was meant to be.”
The son planned to return to the shelter with more birds after Christmas.
“He said around 50,” LeBonty said. “But before he told me 60, and he came in with about 500.”
Law enforcement often get involved in animal hoarding cases when it comes to dogs and cats, but the group has decided to not contact the authorities about the parakeets, according to LeBonty.
“They reached out to us for help, and that’s a step in the right direction,” she said. “Now these birds can be in a proper home and get the care they need.”