EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 25, 2014

Police remove 65 birds from home in Lawrence

LAWRENCE — Acting on an anonymous tip, Lawrence police removed 65 birds and three kittens from cramped quarters at a Newton Street home yesterday.

When animal control officer Ellen Bistany responded to the call, she found the birds crammed into an enclosed second floor porch, without proper heat and ventilation. The animals were later taken to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen, where they will be cared for until new homes are found. The birds included a variety of parrots, doves and finches, police said.

Neighbors complained to Bistany about the birds being kept in unsanitary and unsafe conditions, according to acting police Chief James Fitzpatrick.

“It was kind of dangerous situation, because there were newspapers spread around the space heater. It could have been very dangerous,” Fitzpatrick said in an interview last night.

“This could have turned into a bad situation if the newspapers had caught fire on the floor from the space heater,” he said.

The owner, whose identity is not being released, agreed to turn the animals over to the MSPCA when it was clear they were endangered. The birds are believed to be healthy despite being cold and hungry.

“Some of them had sores and needed to have their nails trimmed,” Fitzpatrick said. “The owner wasn’t able to take care of them other than feed them,” he said.

The owner is a woman in her early 60s, according to Fitzpatrick. He said she lives at the home with an teenage daughter and no charges will be brought against her after she voluntarily surrendered the animals. According to city ordinance, residents are only allowed three pets per dwelling, the chief said.

“It looked like a hoarding mentality ... that she thought it wasn’t a problem to have 65 birds,” Fitzpatrick said.

Nevins Farm Director Mike Keiley said he will make the bird’s safety his top priority.

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