Pierce County man charged with animal cruelty after 47 exotic birds found starving, living in filth

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. -- A Pierce County man has been charged with animal cruelty after a neighbor reportedly found 47 exotic birds starving, shivering and living in filth.

According to court documents, the 66-year-old man asked his neighbor to feed his dog and birds when he went to the hospital in December.

When the neighbor and her husband walked inside, she told deputies she found 47 exotic birds in cages that were caked in feces with rotting food and water that looked more like sewage.

The neighbor reported that the home had rats and moth balls scattered about - and three dogs outside.

When animal control officers responded, they said they found that a rat had died with its head stuck in a cage, and that several of the birds in cages, spread around three floors of the home, were shivering from cold temperatures. One of the rooms housing the birds was 41 degrees, animal control officers said.

Four of the birds died within 24 hours of being taken to the animal control facility. Necropsies found the birds to be severely emaciated showing symptoms consistent with starvation.

"Each bird showed signs of poor husbandry and neglect," according to the police report.

The man was charged with four counts of animal cruelty in the first degree.