In Lancaster County, someone is neglecting a popular pet among bird enthusiasts. Fancy pigeons are being found dead or severely injured in large numbers throughout Manheim Township. They've unexpectedly been brought to the Feathered Sanctuary in Willow Street.
Jennifer Nields is the animal cruelty officer with the Lancaster County SPCA. She says, "People are obtaining the birds and picking the ones they want and letting the rest go."
At least 20 birds have been found dead.
Nields says, "They're either being eaten by hawks, wild animals or starving."
Many of the pigeons were found injured at the Manheim Township Community Park. Experts say a park is the last place they should be because of their inability to sustain the environment.
Ernie Hoover auctions of pigeons through Graystone Small Animal Sales at Root's Country Market and Auction. He say, "These pigeons are raised in good coup or house. Food and water is 3 or 5 feet away from them and fed feed, our equivalent or shrimp and lobster everyday, people take good care of them and realasing them in the wild , they have no idea how to take care of themselves."
Hoover says he can't confirm the mishandled birds came from his auction. He says, "We have no identification of each animal, we have identification on who brings them in, but it's not on the pigeon."
The 85 year old auction has never had a problem like this before.
Most of the birds have already been adopted. If you're interested in one, Nields says be prepared.
"If you get these pigeons and you don't want them surrender them, put them somewhere safe, find them a home, don't dump them because they have no idea how to take care of themselves," says Nields.