Stephen Ellison

Compromise Reached in Castro Valley Caged Birds Case: Sheriff's Office

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office appears to have reached a compromise with a Castro Valley homeowner who was keeping an estimated 500 caged birds on her property.

The main concern when sheriff's investigators found the exotic birds two weeks ago was that they were causing noise pollution, offensive odors and attracting fly swarms.

And they discovered it was not just a case of bird hoarding. Investigators said it was being operated a lot like a puppy mill, with some birds selling for as much as $2,000.

The owner has agreed to get rid of 450 of the 500 birds and has already found homes for 250 birds, sheriff's officials said.

The neighborhood is already seeing a difference, sheriff's officials said.

"In the amount noise, in the amount of flies," Sgt. Ray Kelly said. "Neighbors feel better, and we will get to 50 birds."

Sheriff's deputies responded to the bizarre scene on June 13, when 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 initially was facing possible criminal charges, but sheriff's officials sought to reslove the situation at the lowest level, Kelly said. He said deputies would have confiscated the birds on June 13 but were not able to handle taking care of that many.

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