DETROIT (WTVO) — Nearly 500 parakeets were dropped off at a southeast Michigan rescue shelter shortly before Christmas, with at least 50 more expected later.
The birds came from the son of an animal hoarder, according to the Detroit Free Press. The son reportedly called Kelley LeBonty, director of the Detroit Animal Welfare Group, and said he planned to surrender as many as 80 parakeets from his father’s house.
However, he arrived at the shelter Thursday night with 497 birds.
“He had them all in seven cages,” LeBonty said told the Free Press. “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 his father spent $1,200 a month to feed the birds, which he kept in a 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 told the newspaper. “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.”
Many of the birds reportedly had eye and foot problems, though some appeared to be healthy.
Another area shelter took 220 of the parakeets, while a different shelter was set to pick up more Sunday. It will be about two to four weeks before they are ready for adoption.
The son planned to return to the shelter with more birds after Christmas, LeBonty told the newspaper.
Though law enforcement often gets involved in animal hoarding cases, the group has decided not to contact the authorities about the parakeets, LeBonty said.
“They reached out to us for help, and that’s a step in the right direction,” she told the Free Press. “Now these birds can be in a proper home and get the care they need.”