This is a great topic and I will definitely put it forward for a future webinar or article on our website.
It can be complicated because of the different laws in different States. The most important thing to do is have a Will, discuss the options with an attorney, and make sure that your family members and close friends are aware of your wishes. It’s also good to have a notebook with written instructions as to your wishes, details about each bird and details about their care and foods they eat. This should always be kept in a visible place in your home where it can be found quickly in the event of a sudden death as well as having a copy filed with your attorney. There are also some of the more reputable and established parrot sanctuaries that offer advice or a home for your parrots after your death. The Gabriel Foundation in Colorado was the first to offer this, I believe:
You definitely want to have an attorney involved. I have been involved in a few cases where the deceased didn’t have arrangements made through the attorney. In one situation, the owner’s son disregarded the written instructions and handed the bird off to a neighbor, who in turn left the bird at a very disreputable bird shop. It took nearly two weeks to locate the bird and even when presented with the handwritten wishes, the bird store charged much more than the bird was worth for boarding it, plus a cage cleaning fee yet returned the bird in a filthy, broken cage. The rescue group had no choice but to pay the “ransom” to save the poor bird, but fortunately he did get placed in a loving home later. In another situation, there were no written instructions and the owner died in his home. Police were called by concerned neighbors and per policy, the birds were taken by Animal Control since there were no family members present to claim them. Fortunately, the man was a dear friend and we attended the funeral where we were able to approach the family members who all lived out of state. They were relieved and sent us to retrieve the birds from Animal Control. The facility was also relieved as they had no place to keep the birds and currently had them housed in their own cages, in outdoor dog kennels in over 100 degree heat. Sadly one bird had died from the heat but the rest were placed as a flock in a sanctuary.
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