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Bit of an odd one, but need some advice regarding a pet please.


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Hi

 

Long story but the short version is.

 

I owned a Cockatoo (Parrot)

 

Had to rehome him as my dog had terminal cancer and needed constant care.

 

Finally decided on a small sanctuary that had a small enclosure of animals.

 

Sanctuary was owned by a couple that owned/run a pub/restaurant in a quiet part of the world.

 

Have a contract drawn up by them that states if Cockatoo ever needs to be rehomed we would have first refusal and would be contacted to discuss.

 

Have just found out today that the couple sold the pub in April and all animals rehomed to another sanctuary, one that allows large scale visitors and is open daily to the public. Sanctuary is not a charity.

 

No contact was made with me to discuss this or my Cockatoo, he was just passed on without my knowledge.

 

I am not happy with him being at this sanctuary and id prefer to have him back here, as stated in the contract. This contract was the only reason I parted with him in the first place, as I wanted him to have a secure home where he wouldn't be passed around to others, and in the event that they could no longer look after him, I wanted him back here with me.

 

I have contacted the new sanctuary, but no response as yet.

 

Do I have any rights?

 

Thank you.

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Can you issue a contract like that on an animal ?

 

Did you get legal advice on the contract ?

 

I don't think you can do much about it. If you took the person you agreed the contract with to court, i am not sure it would get you the cockatoo back from the sanctuary. I cannot see the Judge instructing them to get the cockatoo back for you.

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Yes. Animal Sanctuaries have these sorts of legal written contracts all the time. One only lets the animal go to a 'forever home' and said owner if ever wants to rehome - they must return or discuss with the animal sanctuary. Don't know what happens in breech.

 

 

Is there any tags on the bird recorded under your name - our local AS keeps the microchip details under their name (which I don't like actually).

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A contract had to be drawn up to protect themselves, so that any pet owner that rehomes with them, could not just go back one day and demand the pet back.

 

They held a zoo licence and were doing everything above board at the time. Also, I do know that if an animal is ever given to a sanctuary, usually paperwork is signed to sign over ownership. So similar happened in this case, and if it did cover them, then I would assume it also had to cover me in the circumstances mentioned?

 

I didn't take legal advice, it was a bad time, I assumed as most do that it was all correct and as they had a zoo licence they were official and they were following correct procedure.

 

The sanctuary he has gone to, was the one I contacted initially, and they put me in touch with the people (sanctuary) that rehomed him.

 

I kept all emails from all of them at the time so have proof of the situation and what happened during the process.

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Yes. Animal Sanctuaries have these sorts of legal written contracts all the time. One only lets the animal go to a 'forever home' and said owner if ever wants to rehome - they must return or discuss with the animal sanctuary. Don't know what happens in breech.

 

 

Is there any tags on the bird recorded under your name - our local AS keeps the microchip details under their name (which I don't like actually).

 

He is a Cites registered bird so yes he is registered under my name and I have his paperwork. He is also close ringed with a ring number.

 

My problem is, if I wanted to I could have sold him at the time and made £1000. However If I did this he would no doubt have been bought and sold several times or more throughout his life, as this is what the bird world is like, lots of people buy, get fed up and then sell on. I didn't want this for him which is why I let them adopt him for want of a better word. I wanted him to stay at one place and be happy (cockatoos are very complex birds so need stability and specific care) I know it sounds daft, but I just wanted security for him and to know he would be ok. If my dog didn't have terminal cancer and need constant care I would never have rehomed my cockatoo because he was my boy, I loved him and it really hurt when I handed him over.

 

He will now be getting used as a tourist attraction to make money at a sanctuary that lets people wander around his enclosure. I didn't want this to happen, which is why I went with the people that had him initially. Although they had some sort of little sanctuary, it was viewed from a distance, rather than lots of people staring a foot or so away from where he is.

 

I have no idea what rights I may or may not have, but one thing I do know is he will not be staying where he is.

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Oh one more thing.

 

The place where he is now, acted as advisors and mentors to the people/place that I did hand him over to, so they were fully aware of the contract we had and signed and how this whole situation worked.

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The other aspect to this is the welfare of the cockatoo. If the sanctuary is providing an appropriate environment, with other birds for companionship, can you provide an equally suitable home. I thought there was a problem in people having cockatoos in their private homes, without others birds for company.

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He has never lived with another bird. He had a cage and aviary here, and he lived in an aviary when I rehomed him. You cannot put a hand reared bird with another bird, its something that takes time and effort and they have to be slowly introduced to each other whilst being kept separate, especially Cockatoos because they can fight to the death. With a hand reared bird, it doesn't realise its a bird, they think they are human, because when hand reared, the first thing they see when they open their eyes is a human, they assume that human is its parent, and grow up believing they are the same as you and I. Weird I know, but its how it is with them.

 

Where he is now, he will be fed and watered, thats it. They have so many other birds/animals that there is no personal contact. They are maintained and thats it. They cannot give

him one to one care/treatment.

 

Also, I do understand what you are saying, but the fact remains, there is a contract, and if it was tight enough to protect them, then it also has to be tight enough to protect me as we are both covered in the contract.

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He has never lived with another bird. He had a cage and aviary here, and he lived in an aviary when I rehomed him. You cannot put a hand reared bird with another bird, its something that takes time and effort and they have to be slowly introduced to each other whilst being kept separate, especially Cockatoos because they can fight to the death. With a hand reared bird, it doesn't realise its a bird, they think they are human, because when hand reared, the first thing they see when they open their eyes is a human, they assume that human is its parent, and grow up believing they are the same as you and I. Weird I know, but its how it is with them.

 

Where he is now, he will be fed and watered, thats it. They have so many other birds/animals that there is no personal contact. They are maintained and thats it. They cannot give

him one to one care/treatment.

 

Also, I do understand what you are saying, but the fact remains, there is a contract, and if it was tight enough to protect them, then it also has to be tight enough to protect me as we are both covered in the contract.

You should be able to go to court if you wish to enforce the contract. If you hold legal documentation for the cockatoo, i guess this is in your favour as well.

 

Do the RSPCA have any legal type helpline that might offer advice ?

We could do with some help from you.

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Im not sure about the RSPCA, but I will give them a ring in the morning. I am hoping the sanctuary gets back to me before then so we can sort this out, but I will do my best to get advice so I know where I am.

 

Thanks for all the help :-)

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Im not sure about the RSPCA, but I will give them a ring in the morning. I am hoping the sanctuary gets back to me before then so we can sort this out, but I will do my best to get advice so I know where I am.

 

Thanks for all the help :-)

 

 

I hope the sanctuary have your bird's best interests at heart.

 

If they rely heavily on visitors / contributions, they may be more likely to want to avoid negative exposure on social media : especially if you can show they are putting their revenue stream ahead of your bird's welfare.

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Hi Bazza, yes they do rely heavily on visitors and contributions. I'm not saying they are a bad sanctuary, but they treat themselves like a zoo, where you can walk around and visit the animals/enclosures, and the animals there are basically used to raise funds to keep the sanctuary running. That wasn't the deal and it wasn't what I signed up to.

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The starting point is that it sounds like the old sanctuary breached its contract with you. It was required to discuss rehoming with you and it did not. You are therefore entitled to sue the sanctuary.

 

Suing the old sanctuary does not help you get the bird back. However, if you are required to pay the new sanctuary a sum of money in order to secure return of the bird, you could try to get that money back from the old sanctuary.

 

I am not sure whether you would be legally entitled to get the bird back from the new sanctuary. Possibly if you could prove that they knew about your contract with the old sanctuary, but this would be difficult to prove. You might as well ask and see what they say.

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Hi.

 

The new sanctuary were friends and mentors in the setting up of the old sanctuary so I'm pretty confident they probably helped them with the contracts, also as he is a cites bird they would have needed a copy of any contracts to take him on so they should have the same paperwork that I do.

 

No email reply and no answer to phone calls today, but I'm not sure if they are open on a Monday so will try again tomorrow.

 

I am going to find the address of the person from the first sanctuary and start preparing things because I didn't break the contract and I'm not letting him get away with doing it.

 

I do want the bird back and I understand the issues there but I'm just not prepared to let it drop. If they become difficult I will advertise the situation all over the net, specifically on pages that will affect them.

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Well no reply as of yet, they were open today as posts were made on their fb page. I haven't posted on the fb page as yet because that's making it public and I did want to try and resolve this amicably however no reply to email or calls gives the impression this isn't going to happen. I have emailed again, politely requesting they contact me to sort this out.

 

I have been checking out FB and it seems that the old sanctuary owners, and the sanctuary that all animals/birds were re-homed to are close friends so I can only assume this is going to make it harder as they are clearly friends so will have discussed the situation.

 

If they continue to ignore me, which is where this is going, any ideas where I can go from here?

 

Could I consider the bird now stolen and contact the police? Baring in mind they did not even give themselves permission to re-home the bird without my input, as the contract stated I could have him back and have first refusal, so once they stopped being a sanctuary, the bird ceased to be property of the sanctuary as the offer of returning him to me would have been made and I would have accepted.

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You could inform the police but I doubt they would get involved. This is a civil dispute as it concerns a breach of contract, I can't think of any crime that has been committed.

 

I'd try to resolve this amicably first. I imagine that nobody read or thought about your contract. Once they realise that you are determined to get the bird back, I'd hope they would just give it back.

 

If you don't get any joy, the next step would ultimately be to bring a county court claim for breach of contract.

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Who exactly was your contract with? If it was in the name of the sanctuary then that no longer exists so you can't sue. You certainly don't have any contract with the new place just because they mentored the one you handed the bird into so you can't sue them. It really is worthwhile trying to sort this out amicably if you want this bird back. Phone or make an appointment to visit for a proper discussion. Emails are too easy to ignore or may not be seen by decision makers and a face to face meeting gives you a much better chance of explaining why you gave this bird up in the first place. As you've pointed out, far too many owners just get bored with them and you need to show you were being caring and responsible in giving the bird up.

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Are we missing the trick card here ?

 

The OP still holds the CITES registration for the bird and it has not been transferred.

 

The OP could see if the RSPCA would get involved to return the bird to them, as the current sanctuary do not have the registration.

We could do with some help from you.

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Hightail, the contract has the sanctuary name on it plus the names of the owners of the sanctuary and states I was handing the bird over to them, so its the persons and the place that he was handed over to, not just the place. Also I am trying to sort it out amicably however if they do not respond to emails and do not answer the phone there isn't a lot I can do is there. The place is almost 4 hours away from where I live so I see no point in just dropping in and having some sort of showdown with them, which is no doubt what it would become, because they would probably call the police and its me that would be in trouble.

 

Also where you say I could show I was being caring and responsible when giving him up, I drove 4 hours to re-home him somewhere I thought he was going to be safe and cared for. If I didn't care I would have sold him to anyone that wanted him and made between £800-£1000.

 

I rang the RSPCA yesterday but they told me they cannot help at all.

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How long ago did you give the bird up to the first sanctuary?

 

 

The OP still holds the CITES registration for the bird and it has not been transferred.

Is a CITES registration proof of ownership? If so then I'd agree it's the strongest card and surprising that no transfers have been done. The RSPCA should at least be able to give advice on this, they must have had dealings with CITES registered animals either signed over or forcibly removed.

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