Horror Stories - Pet Owners Protest

PLEASE READ: In the wake of the END outbreak and depopulation, some atrocious things have been discovered. This is but one of them.
Pet Owners Protest Tactics Used in Battle Against END
From the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, CA
Published January 28, 2003
NOTE: We don't believe this owner understood how painful it can be for a bird to be killed using Carbon Dioxide. If not done totally properly and under very controlled conditions, it can be excruciating!

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, CA (LINK)

After you read this, be sure to note that officials are not even consistent regarding what they are telling the public about the slaughter! (LINK)

Pet owners protest tactics used in battle against exotic Newcastle


Bird lovers continued to call this week for more communication between the state's exotic Newcastle disease task force and the backyard bird owners whose pets they must euthanize.

A state spokeswoman maintained the task force is doing the best it can to explain to bird owners that the most effective way to stop the disease before it wipes out Southern California's poultry industry is to remove the birds that may carry it, including some that do not appear ill.

"Part of the problem is that they do not have to be infected for us to euthanize them," task force spokeswoman Laticia Rico said. "If our epidemiologist has gone in and taken a physical look and evaluated the premises and said, "OK, this site is affected and there's three sites next to it that have been exposed and this is the route of exposure'... if they have determined that there is an exposure route and those birds that are near the property are determined to be exposed, then they will euthanize the birds."

Exposure can be determined through foot traffic, she said, as well as the movement of animals rodents or even other livestock between neighboring poultry runs. Depending on the number of infected premises found, state officials will cast their net up to one kilometer around an infected area.

Bird owners, however, have complained since the task force went into action that state officials have been insensitive to their feelings as pet owners in the rush to stop the spread of the disease.

At a well-attended information meeting in Norco Thursday night, state Incident Commander Annette Whiteford blamed the problem partly on the burgeoning size of the force.

It has grown from under 100 personnel to more than 1,200 since it was formed in October 2001.

"What happens when you bring that many people in is you get people who are rude, are nasty and don't understand what we're doing here," she told the crowd. "I want their names, and we'll send them home."

One task force member has been relieved of duties, Rico confirmed.

Linda Stephens of Mira Loma is among those calling for a change in state tactics.

"I feel actually deceived by them as far as some of the information that they didn't come out with," she said. "I feel like they misled us with what was going on and what they were going to do."

She came home four days before Christmas to find that California Department of Food and Agriculture officials had served her husband an inspection warrant and euthanized her two Indian Ringneck parrots, five breeding pairs of lovebirds, seven chickens and numerous baby birds. She'd been served notice just over two weeks before that a flock had been found infected with exotic Newcastle disease in her area, she says, and that all birds within a one-kilometer radius would be destroyed.

She had told officials then to come back with a court order.

"They didn't inspect the birds at all," she said. "They didn't test the birds at all. They simply used the inspection warrant to come onto my property, and they proceeded, according to my husband, to put all the birds into these black plastic bags and spray them with carbon dioxide gas to destroy them.

"Parrots are not quiet birds, and when they're under a lot of stress there's a lot of screeching and chattering. They were very stressed out and almost screaming until the gas euthanized them."

Officials should remember that the birds they euthanize are pets, Mira Loma bird lover Bobbe Zimmerman said.

"They're missing the point, and I would just think they would handle it a little differently," she said. "'A lot of people have birds, and a lot of people care about them."

Naomi Kresge can be reached by e-mail at naomi.kresge@dailybulletin.com or by phone at (909) 483-8553.

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