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Update - Bird Hoarder Pleads Guilty



Former Bird Owner Pleads Guilty - Associated Humane Societies Still Looking for Bird Sanctuaries

TINTON FALLS, NJ – Although the owner of the 425 birds rescued in March from horrid conditions at a Belleville home recently pleaded guilty to 20 counts of animal cruelty and will pay restitution to Associated Humane Societies, the organization’s staff members are still working diligently to find homes for over 300 of the birds who have still not been adopted.

Former owner Ewa Matzak was ordered to pay AHS $50,000 – an immediate lump sum of $20,000, with the remaining paid in monthly $500 installments to AHS lawyer, Harry Jay Levin of Toms River. That is merely a small portion of the more than $90,000, AHS has expended for cages, seed, fruits, vegetables, laboratory work and veterinary care.

Belleville Municipal Court Judge Karen Smith banned Matczak banned from having any pets while she is living in New Jersey and strongly recommended psychological counseling.

“We are happy to see justice has been served and we are thankful for the judge’s ruling that Ewa Matczak must compensate us for expenses we have incurred in rehabilitating these birds and giving them a new lease on life,” said Roseann Trezza, Executive Director, Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park. “Unfortunately, only about 100 of the 450 birds we took in have found homes. The Society’s work in caring for a jungle of birds and finding highly qualified forever homes for them continues vehemently.” 

The investigation at the Belleville home began after Associated Humane Societies with Belleville Police on March 11 discovered an appalling situation regarding the hoarding, overcrowding, and poor care of over 450 caged birds. All were taken to the AHS Tinton Falls Animal Care Facility where they have been cared for ever since.

The hybrid birds, including canaries, parakeets, finches, parrots, cockatiels and conures, will only be adopted to sanctuaries and some individuals who can prove they are properly licensed to own and care for them with compassion and expertise. AHS staffers will extensively interview each potential adopter.

“We are looking only for those who can offer these birds the respect, care and space they didn't have before,” she said.

Sanctuary proprietors and experienced New Jersey-licensed bird owners interested in adopting any of the birds should contact Associated Humane Societies Tinton Falls General Manager Bruce Sanchez at 732-922-0100 to begin the process.

But, until the birds have all found the best homes, the Society still needs the assistance that the public has been giving since the birds were first rescued.

Dedicated volunteers are still needed to help clean cages, feed and water the birds. Volunteers can schedule their own times during operating hours, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Supporters are also asked to donate:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Dried fruits
  • All types of bird seed, parrot chow, etc.
  • Monetary donations to pay for laboratory and other medical expenses

Donations can be dropped off at the Tinton Falls Animal Care Center, 2960 Shafto Road during operating hours. To volunteer to help care for the birds while at the shelter, call 732-922-0100.

7/29/2010

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