An East Bay woman may be facing criminal charges after hundreds of caged exotic birds were found in her backyard, according to the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff's deputies responded to a bizarre scene Tuesday in Castro Valley, where neighbors had complained that their street sounds like a jungle. When deputies arrived at the home, they found an estimated 500 parrots and other exotic birds living in cages. The owner apparently sells the birds, sheriff's officials said.
The site is now a criminal investigation. Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly said the operation violates a number of county and state laws. He said deputies would have confiscated the birds Tuesday but were not able to handle taking care of that many.
"We really want the homeowner to come forward and cooperate with us, so we can resolve this at the lowest level and make everybody happy," Kelly said.
The owner sells the birds for up to $2,000 apiece. For the time being, authorities want to make sure the birds are healthy.
"We need to assess: Are these parrots healthy? Do they have any diseases? Are those diseases a threat to our indigenous species? Kelly said.
The owner's daughter says the birds were a hobby for her mom and an escape after a divorce. Now she's trying to sell them on Craigslist.
"The birds are being taken care of gradually," said Yna Pham. "It's a bit hard to sell the big ones because they're pretty expensive."
Neighbor Joseph Langon said he started hearing the birds about two years ago. He said along with the noise, they bring bugs and a foul odor.
"Wow, this is just getting out of control," he said. "We rarely see anybody down there working or taking care of the birds."
Deputies said they'll meet with wildlife experts Wednesday with the hope they can resolve the issue.