UPDATE: Sebastian breeder hands over 48 birds to Humane Society

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A bird breeder in Sebastian has turned over 48 of her birds to the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County, Humane Society authorities announced Tuesday afternoon.

“She realized she’d gotten in over her head,” said the agency’s Ilka Daniel of the breeder. As part of the Humane Society’s agreement to take the birds, the breeder has not been identified.

Daniel was part of a three-prong team that talked the breeder into relinquishing the birds, which include 37 cockatiels, nine parakeets, one red canary and one red-belly parrot named Squeaky.

Daniel explained that a concerned citizen had contacted authorities due to some of the birds being housed outside, despite the cold.

Daniel, Animal Control and Sebastian Code Enforcement arrived at the breeder’s home to inform her that the birds needed to be kept inside.

However, once they arrived at the home and saw how many birds were there and how little space there was available, according to Daniel, they began talking with the woman to come up with a solution that would be best for her and the birds.

“It was just too much,” Daniel said of the requirements the breeder would have had to meet in order to keep all the birds.

Daniel stressed that this was not a case of animal cruelty but of animal welfare. The birds, she said, were in good condition and are ready to be adopted.

The breeder was allowed to keep 15 birds, an amount officials were comfortable the breeder could handle, Daniel said.

Authorities plan to monitor the breeder over the next several weeks to ensure she does not allow the bird population to get out of hand again.

Daniel said that once the woman realized just how out of hand having 63 birds was, the breeder was “extremely cooperative.”

The breeder’s main concern, according to Daniel, was that the birds would be placed in suitable homes.

As part of the adoption process, Humane Society staff will education potential adopters about the bird’s individual needs and the type of commitment that is necessary.

Many of the birds are expected to live 15 to 20 years.

“And they can be a little messy,” Daniel said.

While the Humane Society was willing – and remains willing – to take in surrendered animals from breeders, it does put a strain on the agency, she said.

“We’re thankful” and “very, very happy” the decision was made to surrender the birds, Daniel said, adding that the breeder could have made other choices that might not have been to the benefit of the birds.

Daniel said that adoptions for the birds could begin as early as Wednesday, as the birds are moved to the Adoption Center’s lobby.

Those who are not in a position to adopt a bird – or any other animal at the Humane Society – are encouraged to make financial donations to help offset the birds’ care.

“All donations are really helpful,” Daniel said.

Bird food, toys and cages can also be used, though Daniel recommends donors call the Humane Society first before dropping off the items to avoid too large an influx of the same items.

“It’s going to take time” to place all the birds with their forever families, Daniel said. In the meantime, the Humane Society will care for them along with the dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals that call the shelter home for now.

Those who would like to either make a donation of supplies or money or would like adoption information, should call (772) 388-3331 ext. 10.

Read about the first bird adoption from the Humane Society HERE.

This article was originally published at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7.

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