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Auroran charged with hoarding hundreds of birds

Dave Skeberdis talking his bird 'Sweetheart' as he showed her off outside his Aurorhome October. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

Dave Skeberdis talking to his bird "Sweetheart" as he showed her off outside his Aurora home in October. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 8, 2012 6:37AM

AURORA — The owner of more than 350 live and 120 dead birds in a far East Side home has been charged with companion animal hoarding, a misdemeanor, the city said Tuesday.

David Skeberdis, 57, of the 200 block of Shadybrook Lane, Aurora, is scheduled to appear in DuPage County Court on Dec. 4.

The charges were lodged by the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office after conferring with Aurora Police.

According to Illinois law, a “companion animal hoarder” is a person who possesses a large number of companion animals; fails or is unable to provide sufficient food and water, adequate shelter, veterinary care, and humane care and treatment; and keeps the animals in a severely overcrowded environment.

Tuesday evening, Skeberdis said was not surprised that police charged him with animal hoarding. He said his lawyer told him “not to talk too much” about the case.

“They’re taking their time to see what they want to charge me with,” Skeberdis said. “(But) they want me to rush to get things cleaned up.”

He said that he is concerned that he may be charged with more property violations.

If convicted of the animal hoarding charge, Skeberdis could face a maximum six months in the county jail, up to 24 months probation, and $1,500 in fines. He also may be ordered to undergo psychological evaluation and treatment — and be forbidden to possess animals in the future.

Aurora police and inspectors from the city’s Property Standards and Animal Control and Care Divisions launched an investigation at Skeberdis’ home on Oct. 17, after a painting contractor saw numerous dead birds and dozens of live, un-caged birds flying inside.

An ensuing investigation found that the home was also filled with garbage, bird feces and bird seed and had mold counts indicating a potentially hazardous mold problem.

On Oct. 26, a contractor hired by the city removed 359 live and 120 dead birds from the residence. The live animals were turned over to the Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club, which is holding the birds in quarantine.

The city also set a re-inspection date on the property for Nov. 2. On Nov. 1, Skeberdis’ attorney said Skeberdis would not cooperate with the city’s re-inspection.

City legal staff is reviewing the city’s options through the courts.

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