BIRD THEFT AND THE PET BIRD HOUSEHOLD
Pet bird households may have one pet bird or dozens. Most are considered "children" and some have become true family members being passed down through generations.
Through the Front Door to Your Bird
10% of entries to properties have been gained directly through the front door of victims' premises or by forced entry.
Front doors, porches and screened areas are the most vulnerable to entry by those who commit thefts in pet bird households.
Owners will put pet birds out for fresh air on the front or back porches and screened areas. Birds are quickly taken by thieves, sometimes with the owner being just inside the house, hearing and seeing nothing.
Doors to homes have literally been kicked in or pried open by thieves. This technique has occurred mostly in residential areas where whole neighborhoods are on an "8 to 5" schedule. Owners return home to find their pet bird has been removed with or without its cage.
Thieves are opportunists looking for an easy target. Start by securing the home. Local law enforcement will provide free residential security screenings for home owners. This will cover door construction, trimmed foliage, locks, windows, etc.
- Lock all cages in the home, thieves may not come prepared to cut locks off cages.
- Cages can be bolted to floors.
- Do not boast or brag you have birds in your home, you never know who is listening.
- Do not advertise you own a pet bird by taking it out in public.
- Do not drive in your car with your bird on your shoulder or front seat. Thieves may follow you home with out your knowledge and watch for the next time you leave so they can steal your bird.
- Do not display your bird in its cage in front of bay windows, etc., so it can be seen or heard from the street
- Do not bathe your bird or wash its cage in the front of your house for all to see.
- Have your bird microchipped by your veterinarian.
Victims Twice - Repeat Bird Thefts
Placing ads and offering rewards in the hope of recovering a stolen or lost bird can lead to a second crime against the victim. If you advertise a reward, you can expect a call from a complete stranger to claim it, who will offer to either return your bird, or show you where your birds are. Instructions will be to bring the reward, to come alone, and not to involve the police.
A victim in Miami responded to scam artists by bringing cash and meeting them alone. This person was robbed at gunpoint, beaten and pushed from a moving vehicle.
Other Known Bird Theft Scams
Scammers may pose as truckers or airline personnel. They may tell you they are pretty sure they purchased your stolen pet from "some guy," or "found" your lost bird when they were passing through your part of the country. Scammers are willing to reunite you with your pet provided you send money to cover driving expenses or airline shipping costs.
Any technique used by persons requesting you to send money is in itself a crime and should be reported to authorities.
Proving Ownership of Your Bird
Owners who have found their stolen bird in pet shops or flea markets were not able to get them returned UNLESS POSITIVE PROOF OF OWNERSHIP was provided (microchipping, etc.).
Lacking proof of ownership an owner is sometimes lucky enough to be able to buy back their pets - sometimes paying double the original price. Some pet stores, finding they have a stolen or lost bird in their possession, will sell the bird back to the owner for the price paid they paid.