COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — Columbus Humane was closed Tuesday to handle a large animal cruelty investigation involving around 600 birds at a home.
The organization said all animal support center appointments will continue, but new adoption pickups will need to be rescheduled.
The investigation is taking place in the 500 block of Chase Road in northeast Columbus. Several humane agents and bird cages were seen at the home.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), who is assisting Columbus Humane, says over 600 birds were found inside the 1,000 square-foot home.
"The population of birds is simply staggering," said Rachel Finney, CEO for Columbus Humane. "Overcrowding in this manner isn't conducive to a high quality of life for the birds or their caretakers. Our focus now is on assessing the welfare of the birds and extending the best possible care."
The investigation began after a public complaint was filed over concerns of animal neglect. A search warrant found the home contained hundreds of parakeets, cockatiels, finches, Macaws, African grey parrots, Amazon parrots and Cockatoos. All were in extremely poor and overcrowded conditions, some were in poor health.
“Upon arriving at the home, it was clear an intervention was needed to remove these birds from the property and provide them with the quality of life they deserve,” said Jessica Rushin, senior manager of Partnerships for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “Our immediate goal is to relocate the birds to a temporary shelter where avian experts can evaluate the condition of each bird to ensure they receive the care they need. We are pleased to be able to provide resources and assist Columbus Humane with their life saving efforts.”
The birds will be cared for at a temporary shelter until custody is determined by the court.
"We are seeing some missing feathers, some plucking mutilation things like that," said Finney.
The ASPCA and Columbus Humane say they are working closely with local prosecutors to ensure the best outcome for these animals.
"We are putting together a massive investigative packet for our prosecutors to review," said Finney, "this is a really intensive process because we have to include information about the birds."
ABC 6/FOX 28 will continue to follow this developing story.