Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Many months ago, when I first started this weblog, a story came from Sydney, Australia, through that inimitable source Tim Blair of a parrot stolen from a pet store. Hector, the 31-year-old galah, or rose-breasted cockatoo, had been taken from his cage by a couple of silver-haired ladies. I have been checking on this story from time to time on Google and finally found the resolution to the story the other day. Here it is, from Persons Missing News, a source for missing persons in Australia. As the source does not provide a link, I will reprint the feature on Hector here:

7 August | The Daily Telegraph 7/8 p13 by Stavro Sofios
Hector thieves make contact - Breakthrough in the parrot-napping mystery
HECTOR the abducted galah is alive, "safe and happy" with the animal liberationists who stole him - and his owner doesn't necessarily want him back. The kidnappers made contact with The Daily Telegraph yesterday, claiming the 32-year-old parrot was freed from his "prison-like existence" to live with other birds in a large enclosure. The liberationists received qualified support from Hector's owner Doug Eyre, who offered to give up the community icon if they could prove the galah was now in a better environment.
"If you can show me he is happier in this new place, then keep him. Let him live out his last days happy," the West Ryde Pet Shop owner said yesterday. "My family needs closure, the people around here need closure and I won't push for charges if we can talk about it face-to-face. "If you really think this was the right way to go and if you're part of a fair dinkum liberation cause, why not prove it to us? Show me Hector in a good aviary and I might not take him away."
Expert analysis of the letter sent to The Daily Telegraph reveals it was written by the person who stole Hector and is also consistent with witness reports of the kidnappers -- two greyhaired women in their 50s with a "social conscience". The women took Hector, in his distinctive cage, from the footpath outside the West Ryde pet shop on July 20. The theft caused community uproar, with a reward of $7000 quickly offered for the return of the popular bird. "It says something about our society when $7000 is rewarded to put a galah back into a miserable existence in a cage no larger than a couple of milk crates rather than $7000 being offered to release a bird to his or her natural environment," read the letter, printed on a laser printer and sent in a yellow envelope. "Hector is safe and happy. Hector has not been released in the wild but now has the freedom to move around in a very large enclosure enjoying the company of other birds."

The owner gave his consent. Don't expect mine.

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