This article came to my attention a few days ago and thought it should be shared. This kind of abuse is not anything new, but I still can’t find the words to describe the outrage it makes me feel. Maybe there are no words.
I remember when I was growing up, there was this guy down the street who would sit out on his front porch after work enjoying a beer as the sun went down. Everyday he would pour a can of beer into his dog’s empty water bowl. The dog would lap up every drop of it. Sometimes he would call to us as we walked down the street to invite us to come over and watch as his dog got trashed. He found this to be quite amusing. I did not.
I once questioned him about it not being good for his dog. “Nonsense”, he said. “If Barley didn’t want it, he wouldn’t drink it!” I was young and was raised to not question the actions of the adults around me, so I said nothing. If I had been braver, I would have pointed out that the empty water bowl may have influenced Barley’s decision to drink the beer.
A few years ago, a friend of mine did a rescue of several parrots living in a raided meth lab in her city. Given the level of toxic fumes coming from the processing of this drug, it is a miracle that any of these birds were alive at all. Had they not been kept in the basement of that house, they surely would have died there. Still, the fumes had permeated the entire house and the birds were in horrific condition when found. Three of the eight birds died.
Another rescue involved a group of drug addicts who voluntarily turned over their birds in a moment of good conscience. They described scenarios where the birds were directly subjected to the exhalations of crack smoke by some visitors to the house. These birds were clearly addicted when they arrived at the rescue. So far, all have survived, but have had a terrible toll taken on their frail bodies.
If you choose to pollute your body with drugs and alcohol, feel free. Just keep it to yourself. You don’t have the right to subject your bird, or any other pet, to it.
Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.