Hundreds of birds in hoarder’s home
BY ERIKA WURST firstname.lastname@example.org October 19, 2012 9:42PM
Aurora Police, Fire and Animal Control investigate the scene of a home housing hundreds of birds both dead and alive on Friday, October 19, 2012. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 21, 2012 6:15AM
Police found hundreds of birds in an Aurora home — an animal hoarding case that investigators struggled to even describe.
“It’s really difficult to articulate in words,” what was seen inside the home, Aurora police spokesman Dan Ferrelli said. “It’s a pretty extreme case.”
City crews were unable to determine how many birds were alive — or dead — inside the home in the 200 block of Shadybrook Lane Friday because the scene was not deemed safe for investigators to enter. He estimated the number of birds — finches, canaries, parakeets, conures, cockatiels and others — was in the hundreds.
Crews are waiting on air quality tests before they enter the home.
“It might be too dangerous. The safety of our first responders is first on our mind,” Ferrelli said.
Ferrelli said air quality samples will be forwarded to a lab in Phoenix, Ariz., for additional analysis. The final test results are not expected until Monday, he said, so there will be no cleanup efforts at the house over the weekend.
Hazmat crews entered the home on Friday wearing white suits and protective face coverings, but were unable to remove the animals. Ferrelli said garbage, junk and bird feces littered the inside of the home, but that the situation was not dangerous to neighbors.
According to police, the investigation began on Wednesday when a painting contractor working on the outside of the home noticed several dead birds inside and called police.
Aurora Animal Control and city inspectors started an investigation based on what they saw looking through the windows of the home. They deemed the property unfit for habitation, contacted the homeowner, and received a search warrant for the property.
Bird sounds could be heard coming from inside the residence on Friday afternoon.
Ferrelli said the home’s 57-year-old owner has been cooperative, and seemed to be very concerned about the animals. He stopped to bring food and water to the birds. Ferrelli said he was unsure if the man was actually living in the home, but that he had been tending to the animals.
“He thought he was caring for them in a manner they should be cared for, but that was obviously not the case,” Ferrelli said.