Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wings Over the Rainbow - Ohio

July 19, 2012:  Seized rescue center birds to stay in shelter

By Richard Wilson

Prosecutors and the defense attorney for Wings Over the Rainbow have agreed to allow more than 100 exotic birds to remain in an emergency shelter until the defense can bring in its own veterinarian to examine them.
The defense has until Aug. 7 to have the birds examined, according to the agreement struck Thursday afternoon in a closed-door session with Judge Robert L. Moore of Kettering Municipal Court.
In addition, prosecutors must provide evidentiary discovery by July 31 in the animal cruelty case against Deborah Shell, founder of the Moraine-based bird rescue group, said defense attorney Dennis Lieberman.
The hearing was prompted by Lieberman’s motion to stop the Humane Society of Greater Dayton from taking over ownership of the birds and to preserve the animals as evidence in the criminal case.
Moore had previously set bond at $35,000 to release the birds and ordered that if the Wings group was unable to pay the full bond amount by July 5, the birds would go to the humane society. The Wings group was unable to raise the full bond amount..."  More

July 12, 2012:  Eisenberg, Humane Society on mistreatment of exotic birds


Actor Jesse Eisenberg, working with the Humane Society, has made an important statement about birds: Each year, about 25,000 of them are smuggled into the U.S. The exotic pet trade is a blossoming, corrupt business that inadvertently creates a large percentage of mistreated parrots, as well as those that are left behind, where overwhelmed rescue groups and animal shelters must deal with them.
"If an animal's natural home is in the wild," said Eisenberg, "then chances are that's where it belongs." Eisenberg, who played the voice of the blue macaw in the animated film Rio, is fronting the Humane Society's campaign to save exotic birds and raise awareness on animal cruelty.
The growing demand for parrots fuels the exotic pet trade and results in the displacement of these and similar birds throughout the U.S., said a press release by the Humane Society.
Eisenberg, best known for playing the role of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, added, "Unfortunately, the demand for these intelligent, complex creatures - whether captive-bred or wild-caught - is decimating the wild parrot species."
With the backing of Eisenberg, who has recently been vocal for animal rights, the Humane Society is clearly looking to ruffle a few feathers on those responsible for animal neglect or cruelty. It would seem like an important time to do so, considering the fact that Eisenberg's announcement comes just a month and a half after the Humane Society of Greater Dayton rescued over 100 parrots and other birds from unlivable conditions in Moraine, Ohio.
"Wings Over the Rainbow" was supposedly a bird sanctuary there, but the Humane Society's Animal Rescue Team - as well as other animal rights organizations - discovered that the birds were actually living in a deplorable environment. The animals were suffering from severe stress, malnutrition, dehydration, and diseases. Notably, this is not the first time that a place masquerading as an animal sanctuary was, upon investigation, revealed to be anything but.
The birds are now being cared for at a shelter, but the point that Eisenberg seems to make is that something needs to be done to combat the exotic pet trade before problems like this develop..."  More

Jun 27, 2012:  Sanctuary owner facing cruelty charges

The owner of a Moraine bird sanctuary is facing multiple counts of animal cruelty. 

Deborah Shell, owner of "Wings Over the Rainbow", is charged with 15 counts of animal cruelty and 15 counts of torture of a companion animal. 

The charges all stem from a raid, when the Humane Society of Greater Dayton and Moraine Police seized more than 120 birds from the Springboro Pike sanctuary.
Humane Society officials said the animals were living in filthy conditions and were not being properly cared for. 

The Humane Society has taken custody of the birds and last week a judge ordered Shell to pay $35 thousand dollars in bond to help cover the agency's expenses. 

"Any kind of court case is a lengthy process," said Brian Weltge, President and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton.  "Sometimes the wheels of justice turn slowly, but again it's important we see it through and the animals are the most important thing in this case. We know that the conditions there were poor and we know that the animals are getting the best treatment possible now". .." More & video

Rescue founder to fight closure

By Richard Wilson

The founder of a nonprofit exotic bird rescue organization vowed to fight back after officials shut it down on Thursday.

The Humane Society of Greater Dayton, with assistance from the Humane Society of the United States, executed a search warrant at Wings Over the Rainbow, 4950 Springboro Pike, and removed an estimated 140 mostly medium to large exotic birds from the facility.
The warrant is the result of an investigation into complaints that the birds were being kept in poor conditions and not being properly cared for, said Brian Weltge, president and CEO of the local Humane Society.
“We knew birds were in trouble based on reports and our own investigation,” Weltge said. “The conditions are not acceptable for not only birds but humans as well.”
Surrounded by Wings Over the Rainbow board members and volunteers, the group’s founder Deborah Shell stood outside the yellow crime scene tape as Humane Society volunteers removed the colorful parrots, macaws and cockatoos from the building and loaded them into a truck.
Through tears, Shell and others said many of the birds are their beloved pets. They questioned the motives behind the search warrant and expressed concern about the well-being of the smart, sensitive birds as they were taken away.
“They have no right to take my birds. We’re going to fight because Wings does a great job,” Shell said. “They’re claiming I’m an animal hoarder. How can you be a nonprofit rescue center and be called a hoarder?”..."  More

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