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Archive for Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Boy saving up to buy rare lorikeet bird stolen from Lawrence pet store wants it returned

Ryley Wheat, 9, a third-grader at Quail Run Elementary, with his favorite bird, "Sassy Girl." The bird — a rare lorikeet — was stolen from Pet World on Feb. 6. Ryley had already saved $400 of the $900 he needed to purchase the bird when she was stolen.

Ryley Wheat, 9, a third-grader at Quail Run Elementary, with his favorite bird, "Sassy Girl." The bird — a rare lorikeet — was stolen from Pet World on Feb. 6. Ryley had already saved $400 of the $900 he needed to purchase the bird when she was stolen.

March 7, 2012

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"Sassy Girl," a rare lorikeet, was stolen from Pet World on Feb. 6. Several children from the community had grown attached to Sassy Girl, and one boy was even saving up to purchase the $900 bird.

"Sassy Girl," a rare lorikeet, was stolen from Pet World on Feb. 6. Several children from the community had grown attached to Sassy Girl, and one boy was even saving up to purchase the $900 bird.

Reagan Garcia, a second grader at Broken Arrow Elementary, visits with "Sassy Girl," a rare lorikeet, at Pet World, 711 W. 23rd Street. Reagan met the bird at animal camp, and had been visiting the bird several times a week. Sassy Girl was stolen from the store Feb. 6 and has not yet been located.

Reagan Garcia, a second grader at Broken Arrow Elementary, visits with "Sassy Girl," a rare lorikeet, at Pet World, 711 W. 23rd Street. Reagan met the bird at animal camp, and had been visiting the bird several times a week. Sassy Girl was stolen from the store Feb. 6 and has not yet been located.

The theft of a rare bird, a lorikeet named Sassy Girl, from Pet World, 711 W. 23rd St., has broken the hearts of at least two area children.

“I was just really sad and mad at the same time,” said Ryley Wheat, 9, a third-grader at Quail Run School.

Ryley became close to Sassy Girl, who was stolen Feb. 6, during animal camp at the store. He had been pinching pennies and saving up ever since to buy the $900 bird.

“I really wanted to buy that bird,” said Ryley, who had stuffed away $400 doing chores and collecting birthday money.

Reagan Garcia, 8, a second-grader at Broken Arrow School, also “fell in love” with Sassy Girl at the camp, said Reagan’s mom, Aimee.

“She was devastated,” said Garcia when they saw a post on Facebook about the theft.

Bird thefts are rare, said Sherry Emerson, Pet World co-owner, and this was just the second bird theft from the store in 24 years.

Emerson said the theft occurred during a busy day; she estimates about 50 customers, as well as a tour, were in the store at the time of the crime.

She thinks that several thieves were working together, distracting employees. Sassy Girl was housed in an open bird cage with one other bird.

An employee noticed the bird missing after a few minutes and called police.

The biggest concern right now, Emerson said, is the bird’s health. Lorikeets, a medium-sized parrot native to southeast Asia and Australia, require a special nectar diet. Regular bird feed will make the bird sick, Emerson said.

Emerson said she’s hopeful the bird will be found or returned. It’s such a rare bird, she said, that those in the bird community will be suspicious if someone brings it to a store or tries to sell it. The other bird that was stolen about 10 years ago was left at another pet store, which called Emerson and returned the bird.

Ryley is still shaking off the shock of the theft and has a message for the thieves.

“You should not steal any pet,” he said. “You should just give it back.

Comments

Bob Forer 2 years, 9 months ago

Sounds like professionals who knew what they were looking for. Sadly, the bird is long gone. However, they can't be too professional to steal something this rare, unless the sold it far away from here, and then, it doesn't seem worth the risk. but who said criminals were smart.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 9 months ago

“You should not steal any pet,”

Exodus Chapter 20, verse 15: "You shall not steal." Leviticus Chapter 19, verse 11: "You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another." Deuteronomy Chapter 5, verse 19: "Neither shall you steal."

That is three memos from antiquity about that. They were written down 2,700 to 3,000 years ago.

I am sorry to say that one more memo today won't make any difference to some of us.

nut_case 2 years, 9 months ago

OK, stealing sucks, but but paying $900 for a bird?!?!

Forget the bird...put that money in a college fund, kid...you'll be much better off in ~10 years!

WiseOne 2 years, 9 months ago

$900.00 is not going to make it or break it on a college fund are you kidding? A bird will live20+ years and will be the best friend you have ever had. How does that equate to Money? Besides it was NOT theirs to take. I think it is sad that a great pet store that allows children to interact with their animals and teaches them so much about animals would have to worry about people taking any of the animals! Just bring the bird back!

Jeremiah Jefferson 2 years, 9 months ago

I truly feel bad for the boy. But at the same time I'm not sure that owning or even selling rare birds from another country as pets is morally right. Seems to me that bird belongs in the wild, not in a pet store, not in a zoo and certainly not in someones house. On the flip side, I hope they find out who took the bird as I can't stand a thief either

Jean Robart 2 years, 9 months ago

How do you know that this bird wasn't bred in the US?

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't see a problem with selling rare birds as pets as a moral issue at all - as long as they were bred in captivity here in the United States. That is most likely the case, because wild caught birds are rarely tame, as this one obviously is.

Jeremiah Jefferson 2 years, 9 months ago

Yeah I suppose if it was bred in captivity here in the US it would probably be alright and acceptable to house one as a pet. But then how could you say the bird was a a rare bird? If they are bred to be pets then they are not rare. Bald Eagle, California Condor, Snowy Owl, Whooping Crane, those are rare birds. But I spect since most people have cats and dogs and not green birds, that makes them rare lol. Either way I do feel sorry for the boy and hope he gets his bird back.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

They probably just used the word too loosely. Probably like something you don't often see in a pet store.

The bottom pit of Hades should await thieves. Too bad it doesn't exist.

MarcoPogo 2 years, 9 months ago

You obviously haven't been to "It's Brother's!".

Kylee Manahan 2 years, 9 months ago

Make me another one of the broken hearted! I'm not a young one, but I loved that bird. Always went to see her and play with her.

hyperinflate 2 years, 9 months ago

Second that. It was the coolest bird I ever interacted with.

Yes, I know. I ended the prior sentence with a preposition.

Mark Zwahl 2 years, 9 months ago

This whole issue and the comments... just weird. Birds are not bred for domestication. These are just wild, "tame" birds. They don't have centuries of being bred for life amongst humans.

Something's wrong here with all this bird sentiment, seems to me.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 9 months ago

Sounds to me like you've never owned a bird!

For a very long time, whenever I woke up, my tiny little cockatiel was already standing on my shoulder, waiting for me to wake up. The instant I opened my eyes, she would chirp a "Good Morning!" to me.

Martin was a wild, "tame" bird? I don't think so! Cockatiels have been bred in captivity for hundreds of years.

What's all this clap trap about wild, "tame" dogs and cats? If you can explain that one to me, maybe your statements about birds will make more sense.

Armen Kurdian 2 years, 9 months ago

Bird lovers are a breed of their own. I didn't understand that until I got married; my wife has a cockatiel. She's had it for 22 years since birth and they are bonded almost as tight as a mother & child. 'Max' won't let anyone rub his head except for her, always flies over to her, even knows where her office is. He'll fly up the stairs make a left turn and go into her office...it's really pretty amazing.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 9 months ago

Martin was wonderful. Some time after I learned of my allergy to her, her cage was moved to the dining room, which was around the corner from the living room.

Very often, in fact, just about every time I had quests in the living room that Martin did not know, she would come whizzing around the corner and into sight, fly across the room, then make a quick U turn in the air, and then back around the corner again, out of sight.

People would almost always yell, "There's a bird in here!"

I would calmly answer: "Yes, that's Martin. She was just checking to see what was going on in here."

Kylee Manahan 2 years, 9 months ago

Obviously you have never interacted with this bird.

walkthehawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Ryley is a "he", not a "she." Pronoun in third paragraph indicates otherwise.

gsxr600 2 years, 9 months ago

Is this uncommon? LJW relies on commenters to edit their stories. No one proofreads anymore. Takes too much time.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 9 months ago

When young, many birds are difficult to sex. I was told when I got Martin that they thought she was probably a male. It wasn't until she began to exhibit female behaviors that there was some doubt. And then later, the eggs proved it!

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh, I see now. I was distracted by memories of Martin, (1980 - 1994)

friendlyjhawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Ah, the cloying smell of a human interest story is hanging in the air.

somedude20 2 years, 9 months ago

I once dated a "rare bird" but I flew the coop because she was too seedy

JackMcKee 2 years, 9 months ago

it's not dead, it's just sleeping. Wakey Wakey

tolawdjk 2 years, 9 months ago

Many times an animals "rareness" can be effected by the import/export laws of the originating country.

For example when Brazil put a ban on the export of wildlife the price of many specied of plecostamus went through the roof as supply was immediately reduced to what breeders could establish in the US. And since, previously, the aquariums were getting thier supply from importers, there were not a lot of breeders of certain species to take over the supply operations. The L-46 Zebra is a prime example. Striking fish that you could find for 10 -15 bucks before. Now days, you are lucky to see one less than $150 for something in the 1-2" range.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 9 months ago

Australia also has very strict laws concerting the export of native animals. In the late 1920s, the export of koala bears became strictly prohibited, because their numbers were declining to the point of near extinction, in fact, they already had become extinct in south Australia.

And what was the use of the exported koala bears? Their hides were being used to make "Australian Bearskin Coats".

So today, cockatiels and cockatoos sold in the United States are all bred in captivity. Plus, captive bred birds are used to human contact since birth, and therefore make wonderful pets.

Cockatiels are not difficult to breed at all, but cockatoos are a rather serious challenge, although they make fabulous pets. The problem is, after becoming fabulous pets by bonding with their owners and other people, they no longer bond with each other and become unable to breed.

There are a few other species of wildlife that would theoretically be wonderful pets that are from Australia, but for one reason or another, they do very poorly in captivity.

The situation is rather different with tropical fish. In areas of Brazil, tetras are very common, and the natives are urged to maintain their habitat and only capture enough for export. In this fashion, the natives have a vested interest in maintaining a suitable native environment for the native fishes.

Many of the pet fish you see in the pet stores that you see were bred in Singapore in large outdoor pools, where their habitat closely resembles where they came from. They are bred there by the hundreds of thousands.

A friend of mine and his wife know some people that operate a tropical fish farm there, and they said it was amazing to see the large number of pools, each mimicking some fish's native habitat.

But, it is true that some fish are not common in the wild, and it is unfortunate that some of them are imported, and then don't do well in captivity. It is very difficult for an uniformed purchaser to tell the difference.

hyperinflate 2 years, 9 months ago

Surely this story has to win an award for generating the most diverse threads of conversation of any in recent memory. And a double award for managing to do this without mentioning any State or national political figures. Wow.

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