By Sara Brown
METHUEN — Last week, the MSPCA-Nevins Farm seized 65 birds from a single-family home in Lawrence.
A hoarder, whose identity is not being released, kept cockatiels, parrots, doves and finches in a crowded, enclosed porch with poor ventilation and heat. In addition to being hungry and cold, the birds had sores when they were surrendered to the MSPCA.
But now many of them are finding comfort in new homes.
Twenty-two of the birds have been adopted already, MSCPA officials said. Another nine are set to be adopted, and 34 birds are still looking for homes, the officials said.
“The Nevins Farm team won’t rest until all of them are in new homes,” said MSCPA spokesman Rob Halpin.
While the birds were living in inappropriate and unsanitary conditions, they seem to be doing well now, Halpin said.
“The birds were ravenous when they arrived at Nevins Farm,” he said.
Unfortunately, hoarding is something the MSPCA has a lot of experience with.
“We see a lot of cases where people hoard cats, this was one of the rare times when it involved birds,” Director Mike Keiley said.
However there have been other cases of small animal hoarding. In November 2013, 33 guinea pigs were surrendered after living in an overcrowded home in New Hampshire. And 71 birds were taken in on a single day in February 2012.
“When people start to hoard, that is usually a sign that some mental issues might be going on and they need help,” Keiley said. “If they don’t get help, the issue continues to repeat itself.”
While hoarders may think they are helping animals by providing some kind of home, the truth is that hoarders are hurting all of the animals in their care.
“Because there are so many animals and so few resources, they fight and attack each other. This is out of stress and competition,” Keiley said. “This is often how they pass communicate diseases to each other.”
Both the hoarder and the animals can be harmed in this situation.
“The feces begins to build up and that effects the air quality of the homes,” Keiley said. “It’s quite normal that the animals and people living in the household begin to develop respiratory problems.”
Halpin advises people interested in adopting birds to do their research before taking on the responsibility for caring for these creatures.
“We would encourage anyone interested in adopting a bird to come and visit us and the birds,’’ he said. “If they are seriously considering adding a bird to their home, they should understand that birds require regular interaction and a good deal of enrichment in order to have happy, healthy lives. While they are small animals and may appear easier than a dog that needs to be walked and exercised, they will require an investment of time and love by their new owner.”
Three cats were also taken away from the home.
“They have already been adopted into great homes,” Halpin said.
Anyone interested in adopting one or some of the animals is encouraged to visit the MSPCA-Nevins Farm Animal Care and Adoption Center at Care and Adoption Center at 400 Broadway, Methuen or visit www.mspca.org.
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