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West Side family reunited with pet peacock that strutted away

Chicago Animal Care Control responded call stray peacock Sunday afternoon. The bird is now running around some animal control room

Chicago Animal Care and Control responded to a call of a stray peacock Sunday afternoon. The bird is now running around some animal control room because it was too big for a cage. Gilbert Baez, left, holds "Fluffy" the peacock for his son, Roy to pet as his wife, Marylin, looks on. Baez and his family came to the Chicago Animal Care and Control Center to retrieve the bird on Monday, July 11, 2011. l Keith Hale~Sun-Times

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Updated: October 16, 2011 12:18AM

The Baez family certainly didn’t look like imposters: They came clutching a handful of the species’ distinctive turquoise feathers and a packet of the food they said “Fluffy” can’t live without — hotdogs.

But the staff at the city’s Animal Care and Control headquarters weren’t taking any chances Monday, after receiving phone calls from three people, all claiming to be the owner of the stray peacock plucked off the streets in the Douglas Park neighborhood Sunday.

It was only when the head of the Baez family, Gilbert Baez Sr., bent down to offer a piece of shredded hotdog to the bird — and Fluffy gobbled it up — that animal control’s executive director, Cherie Travis, felt confident she was dealing with the bird’s legitimate owners.

“We’re very happy — to say the least,” said Marilyn Baez, who said she and Gilbert received Fluffy as a wedding gift from a friend in Indiana six years ago.

The Baez family suspect Fluffy bolted after someone left the back gate open at the family home in the 1800 block of South California.

The calls to the animal control started coming in after Fluffy’s awkward capture appeared on TV Sunday night.

“We sometimes see a pigeon and we sometimes see a chicken, but we don’t see peacocks,” Travis said.

By Monday evening, Fluffy was enjoying the comforts of home life, with his canine buddies, “Tito” the chihuahua and “Baby,” a poodle mix.

And Fluffy was enjoying one of his favorite pastimes — staring at himself in the mirror the Baez family has propped up in the back yard.

“I guess he admires how he looks,” said Gilbert Baez Jr., 20.

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