Wild no place for former house pets, animal control officer says

Published on Wednesday, 9 May 2018 21:00


PLAINVILLE - Over the past several months, Plainville Animal Control Officer Donna Weinhofer has been finding several abandoned pets in town, from rabbits to an expensive bird, and has been working to find them homes.

Three weeks ago, a green-cheeked conure, which Weinhofer said is a $500 breed of bird, was brought to the pound, where it was tested for diseases and after it was found to be clean it was given to the Connecticut Parrot Society, which stepped up to take care of him. The conure is currently still in her office.

“The bird flew into a woman’s hair at Sno-White Car Wash,” said Weinhofer. “It then hopped onto her shoulder and she drove it to the pound.”

A few months ago, Weinhofer said, she found three bantam chickens, a breed with wispy feathers typically used in shows, abandoned in a small cat carrier outside Lowe’s. These have since been adopted by a local police officer with a farm who is using them to lay eggs.

Several domestic rabbits have turned up, with Weinhofer finding them three months ago, two months ago and as recently as April. One young rabbit, three to four months old, was found and given to “Every Bunny Counts,” an animal rescue operating out of Bristol. The others have been given to the Connecticut Humane Society.

“People don’t realize that a domestic bunny that has spent years of its life indoors eating lettuce brought to it by its owners doesn’t know how to survive and hunt for food in the wild,” said Weinhofer. “People often buy bunnies for their children around Easter but they aren’t prepared to take care of them. There’s a lot of work involved in caring for a bunny.”

Other recent rescues by Weinhofer have included a guinea pig whose owner could no longer take care of it, a duck that had been kept in a cage and developed a case of bumble foot because it couldn’t get into the water, and a guinea hen that had been wandering around town for two weeks. The guinea pig was brought to Petco, the duck was brought to a farm in New Britain and the hen was brought to a farm in Coventry.”

Weinhofer said people must be prepared to care for an animal for years, or the duration of its lifetime, before making the commitment to become a pet owner.

“If you are having trouble caring for your animals, come to me, don’t abandon them,” she said. “I can help get pet food for you or find a new home for your animal if need be.”

Weinhofer also wishes to remind pet owners not to leave animals in their cars now that the hot weather is here.

“If you leave an animal in your car, it will die quickly - some as soon as 10 minutes,” she said. “If it is 85 or 90 degrees outside it can quickly become 104 or 105 degrees in the car, even with the windows cracked.”

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or bjohnson@bristolpress.com.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, Plainville on Wednesday, 9 May 2018 21:00. Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2018 21:03.