Investigators say 22 birds were living in filthy conditions at a home in Tampa.
"The cleaning of the cages, the conditions of the cages, was clearly not being kept for several weeks. There were also additional animals that weren't being cared for," said Pam Perry, with Hillsborough County Animal Services.
Animal Services confiscated the birds, parakeets and a cockatiel about two weeks ago from a woman who legally isn't allowed to even have animals.
"It's incredibly heartbreaking," said Jennifer James, who founded Florida Parrot Rescue
James took the birds in and found foster homes for them.
"There were several of them that visibly looked sick. Visibly you could tell something just wasn't quite right. Their color was off and there were multiple birds we had to keep in the hospital for a couple of weeks on medications." James said.
One vet says people often underestimate the commitment a bird requires.
"When you do a lot of birds you realize unfortunately, people don't plan for them very well. Even folks who go into it with the best intentions," says Dr. Jonathan Rubinstein, a veterinarian at Country Chase Veterinary Clinic, where the birds were treated.
The owner of the birds, Sherry Clark, did not want to go on camera, but told FOX 13 she was breeding the birds to make a living. However, her troubles with animal services date back to 1999.
"Just not being responsible for animals. Letting their animals run loose, letting their animals attack people. Improper confinement of dogs on the property. Embedded collars on the dogs. No proper housing. No water," said Pam Perry, with Hillsborough Animal Services.
In 2009, a judge banned her from ever owning animals again, unless she petitioned the court.
Several other people living at her house were banned too.
"I think they've clearly shown they're not responsible animal owners," Perry said.
Hillsborough Animal Control says Clark was told to petition the court last year in order to legally breed the birds. However, investigators say she never did.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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