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Owner of stray Macaw steps up

12:06 AM, Sep 12, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Your Heart Could Break for this Stray, Unclaimed Macaw

The Macaw at Cobb County's animal shelter, Wednesday, September 5, 2012.

UPDATE (9:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 11, 2012) -- Nguyen's son told 11Alive News that this past Thursday the family, searching for their Macaw, saw a craigslist post which described a Macaw just like their bird, and it stated that Cobb Animal Control had it.  Friday they went to the shelter.  The Animal Control officers told them they needed more proof that the Macaw was their bird, and they had until Tuesday morning to submit the proof.  Over the weekend they gathered the bird's documentation, as well as photographs and neighbors' statements, and other information about the bird that only the owner would have known.  The family returned to the shelter Tuesday morning to submit their proof, and the bird was returned to them. 

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UPDATE (4:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 11, 2012) -- The owner is Dung Tan Nguyen of Marietta.  He told 11Alive News over the phone that the Macaw escaped from his cage "a couple of weeks ago."  Nguyen said he's been looking everywhere, and just found out that the animal shelter had the bird.  Nguyen's home in Marietta is six miles (as the bird -- in this case, as the Macaw -- flies) to the southwest of where the Macaw was spotted in the treetops along Fairground St. on Tuesday, September 4.  Nguyen's first language is Vietnamese and was having difficulty answering questions in English, but said he is very happy to have his Macaw back home.

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UPDATE (12:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 11, 2012) -- Just as the animal shelter was getting ready to turn over the Macaw to someone from the Noah's Ark animal sanctuary, the bird's owner arrived at the shelter.  According to Cobb County Spokesman Robert Quigley, the owner provided documentation, photographs and identifying information about the bird "that only the owner would know," and the owner left with the bird.  Quigley hoped to be able to provide more information later Tuesday about how the owner lost the Macaw and why the owner showed up at the last minute to claim him.  

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UPDATE (9:00 a.m., Tuesday, September 11, 2012) -- The Macaw's owner never came forward. The shelter found a home for the Macaw. He will be placed with the animal sanctuary in Henry County, Noah's Ark. Someone from Noah's Ark was expected to pick up the bird Tuesday, and begin rehabilitating him in a natural habitat that includes other Macaws.

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MARIETTA, Ga. -- Your heart could break for this stray Macaw.

No one has come forward, yet, to claim him.

He was found perched in one of the trees along a busy street in Marietta Tuesday.

RELATED | "The Mysterious Macaw of Cobb County: It's missing its Human"

And Wednesday night, Cobb County Animal Control was saying the bird will need some special attention to nurse him back to normal.

"We're just kind of watching him. He is a little scared, kind of hard to handle, right now," said Billy Mayfield, the Operations Director of Cobb County Animal Control.

Macaws are usually friendly toward people, and the good news is that the veterinarian at Cobb County Animal Control concluded that the bird is perfectly healthy, physically.

But Mayfield said the Macaw has been through such trauma, fending for himself -- by himself -- in the urban jungle, he's withdrawn, frightened of people.

"I think he's been freaked out from being loose and free," Mayfield said. "Appears healthy, just real scared. I think he just needs time to settle down."

It was Tuesday morning when the Macaw was spotted all by himself, up in the tall trees above busy Fairground Street in Marietta. An animal control officer was able to net him and bring him into the safety of the shelter.

"Very rare do we see an 'exotic,' especially a Macaw," Mayfield said amidst the barking of the shelter's dogs. "I've been with Animal Control for 15 years, and this is the first Macaw I've seen here."

On 11Alive's Facebook page, one woman wrote that way back on Saturday, she saw the Macaw more than half a mile away from the spot where he was spotted on Tuesday. She said she saw him at Fairground and Roswell Streets, sitting on a traffic light.

Someone else who wrote wondered whether it could be the bird pictured on a "missing" poster -- in Alpharetta.

"We've gotten several calls, several inquiries, just curious about the bird and wanting to know if there's anything they can do for the Macaw," Mayfield said. "But nothing as far as an owner. We have not received any phone calls from any possible owners or anybody looking for the bird. So at this point, he's still considered a stray."

"The larger birds are in demand, just simply because of the vibrant, stunning colors, and the ability to talk," said Matthew Baggarly of Atlanta Exotic Pets in Norcross. "And a lot of people want to build that bond with those birds because they're very sweet, nurturing birds. And they typically bond with an owner or a family. So they are in high demand."

Baggarly said people often underestimate the amount of high-maintenance care that the birds often require.  But he said it makes no sense to him that anyone would abandon a Macaw, not only because the birds' personalities are so focused on interaction with humans, but also because, fully-grown, they are worth so much in the pet marketplace.

"It's kind of like losing a diamond ring or something of that magnitude," he said. "You can find these birds costing anywhere from $600 up to $2,000. Just depends on the breeder."

Mayfield said the Macaw's owner will not be in any trouble if he or she comes forward to claim him. He said there could be any number of understandable reasons that a responsible owner could have lost the bird. But he said if no one claims the Macaw by early next week, the county wants to give him to a bird sanctuary.

"We think that would probably be the best thing for him," rather than putting him up for private adoption.

"We really would prefer to try and get him into a place that specializes in Macaws, [places] that could work with him, and give him more hands-on attention," Baggarly said. "That's probably something he needs, just given the fact that he is not real friendly at this time and doesn't want to just come right out to interact with people. He needs some special work, and needs somebody who can work with him, take time with him. And a place that deals with exotic birds like Macaws could work with him and give him a home."

And give him the one-on-one TLC he needs now to heal his heart.

For more information:
Cobb County Animal Control
1060 Al Bishop Drive, Marietta, GA
770-499-4136

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