PETA: Aurora bird hoarder should be charged
By Stephanie Lulay firstname.lastname@example.org October 31, 2012 5:44PM
Dave Skeberdis brings the first of his birds out for the people of the Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club to take to their storefront in Villa Park on Friday, October 26, 2012. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 31, 2012 7:08PM
AURORA — Representatives from a national animal rights group have contacted city officials, calling for charges in the Aurora bird hoarder case.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a letter to Aurora officials Wednesday calling for review of bird hoarder Dave Skeberdis “and if appropriate, to charge and prosecute him for cruelty to animals.”
“Skeberdis has admitted to being an ‘animal hoarder’ — someone who obsessively accumulates and neglects animals,” said Kristin Simon, PETA senior cruelty caseworker.
On Friday, crews rescued 325 live birds from Skeberdis’ townhome in the 200 block of Shadybrook Lane. Those birds were turned over to the Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club, which is caring for them at a Villa Park storefront for a 30- to 60-day quarantine period.
About 120 dead birds were found in the home.
PETA is requesting that if charged, tried and convicted, Skeberdis be prohibited from owning animals and required to undergo psychological counseling.
“The sheer number of birds affected, the sheer suffering involved in this case is mind blowing,” Simon said. “Birds suffer no differently than dogs or cats or other animals.”
PETA sent its letter to Mayor Tom Weisner, Police Chief Greg Thomas, Aurora Animal Control Director Sue Knight and others.
“The investigation is continuing and we have not ruled out the possibility of criminal charges,” city spokesman Dan Ferrelli said.
Simon said that Skeberdis meets the state’s definition of a “companion animal hoarder,” someone who possesses a large number of animals and fails or is unable to provide adequate care for them.
“The case in question appears to meet... these standards unequivocally,” Simon said.
Hoarding is a mental illness and people are reporting animal hoarding incidents with more regularity, she said.
Skeberdis could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Ferrelli confirmed Wed-nesday that a Dumpster placed on the street in front of the townhome on Shadybrook Lane has been removed.
After the city’s contractor entered the home on Friday, they determined items would not need to be removed from the home to make pathways through the home, so the Dumpster was not needed, Ferrelli said.
Skeberdis revoked his consent for the city’s contractor to enter his home last week. The city then served Skeberdis with an order from the Kane County Circuit Court authorizing the city to collect the birds from the home.
Skeberdis asked the city not to remove any items from the home, Ferrelli said.
“There really was no reason to continue paying for a Dumpster,” Ferrelli said.