couple runs Lotts of Love Avian Rescue and Adoption, a nonprofit
agency that takes in exotic birds from owners who no longer want
or cannot handle. The Lotts nurse the birds back to health and either
find homes for them or add them to their own expanding flock.
it's a less than desirable bird, we offer sanctuary for him or her,"
Betsy Lott said. "Some birds just don't have the personality people
want. They are wild, they don't want to be tamed and they will bite,
adoptive homes must pass a rigorous application process, including
home visits and bird care classes. The Lotts also make follow-up
visits to foster homes, and they refuse to allow breeders to take
the birds, to prevent more unwanted animals from being born.Right
now, most of the birds are in the sanctuary class - and they're
taking up most of the couple's 4,000-square foot home on eight acres
near Everson. The farm has three outbuildings that the Lotts hope
to eventually turn into outdoor aviaries. The Lotts are converting
a two-car garage into a quarantine facility, a "clean room" where
new birds are kept until the couple can be sure they carry no infectious
Lott quit her job as an administrative assistant for a Silicon Valley
computer company to devote her time to Lotts of Love. The agency
currently works with a parent company, Midwest Avian Adoption and
Rescue Services, but Lott plans to file for her own 501(c)3 status
- and become the only parrot adoption agency in Washington state.
is a database administrator who works for a Chicago-based company.
a 1992 import ban prevents exotic birds from being brought to the
United States, resident breeders and the long lifespan of some breeds
- larger birds like cockatoos and macaws can live 60 to 100 years
- keep pet owners well stocked.
bird owners don't realize what they're in for when they buy their
first bird, however, Betsy Lott said.
are the No.1 impulse purchase in the country," she said. "It's easy
to understand why people do this. The birds are usually young and
fluffy and they've got these big, dark eyes that look at you like
you're a god."
of Love Avian Rescue and Adoption, a nonprofit agency, is in
need of volunteers, foster homes and used newspapers to line
its bird cages. To make a donation or for more information,
call 966-7490, send e-mail to email@example.com or visit their Web site at parrot-rescue.org.
the birds can live as long as an adult human, they act like 3-year-olds
their entire lives, requiring constant care and attention, Betsy
tell people they have to be willing to make the same level of commitment
as they would adopting a special needs child," she said. "They always
need fresh food and water, their cage needs to be cleaned, they
need toys to play with and regular visits to the vet."
said pet owners couldn't go away for a weekend and leave out extra
food, the way one might for a cat or dog. More than likely, the
bird will dump out the food, take a bath in its drinking water and
then be left without either for days.
a lot like children, and you wouldn't leave a 3-year-old at home
in the closet for a weekend," she said.
Lott took in her first birds in 1991, when she noticed a neighbor
taking a small cage out to his front yard. "Being nosy, I went over
there and said 'What pretty birds you have. What are you going to
do with them?' Well, he was going to open the cage and let them
go. This was in October.
said 'Don't. I'll take care of them.' It was an instinctive thing."
a few years, the Lotts had a half-dozen birds and began taking in
birds that has been abused or neglected by owners. Their business
exploded this year when, in the first four months, the Lotts took
in 37 parakeets, 14 cockatiels, eight lovebirds, six finches and
a canary. About half have been adopted out.
did not get bad until the past two years. It's kind of a late '90s
prestige symbol, having a bird, and then they started getting rapidly
dumped (by owners)," Betsy Lott said. "We don't need any more birds.
These birds already have had a hard life."
Jim Donaldson, Hometown editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
from Bellingham Herald - Thursday, November 15, 2001