A new chance at LifeLine

Emmie Poth-Nebel

One of the parrots rescued and being cared for by LifeLine.
Photo courtesy of Karen Hirsch
One of the parrots rescued and being cared for by LifeLine.

On Jul. 13, LifeLine Animal Project seized over 300 exotic birds from a Dekalb county doctor’s home after enforcement officers received an anonymous tip.

With no on-site facilities big enough for 300 birds, the project moved the birds to an undisclosed location, and hired a Fla. bird expert and sanctuary owner to care for them.

“Just feeding and watering, as well as cleaning the cages takes a long time, so the expert stays with the birds,” public relations director Karen Hirsch said. “[The expert, along with volunteers] have to provide around 150 cups of food a day and wash 600 bowls, the latter of which is a lot of work since they don’t have a dishwasher.”

According to Hirsch, LifeLine’s mission is to “end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals in county shelters.” They also care for lots of animals who are part of abuse and neglect cases.

“Animals are unfortunately considered property, so when someone gets arrested, their animals are turned over to the animal control until the judge decides what happens to them,” she said. “So, that’s

Banjo, one of the dogs LifeLine hopes to get adopted.
Photo courtesy of Karen Hirsch
Banjo, one of the dogs LifeLine hopes to get adopted.

how the hoarding case came to us.”

Senior and bird owner of four years Audrey Phillips finds the case “tragic.”

“[The birds] were obviously not receiving any care at all,” she said. “I think animal hoarding is awful, and it’s also something that happens a lot. It makes me especially sad, though, because when birds get even a little lonely, they pluck out their own feathers. I really just can’t imagine how awful it was for them.”

Chalice, one of the dogs LifeLine hopes to have adopted.
Photo courtesy of Karen Hirsch
Chalice, one of the dogs LifeLine hopes to have adopted.

Phillips believes that high schoolers can make a difference for once-hoarded animals, even if it’s a small one.

“I think the most we as students can do is help care for the birds who were left over and promote help for animals who are being hoarded because the conditions they’re in are often insufficient for living, and much less for having an enjoyable life,” she said.

Hirsch agrees.

“As Atlanta gets bigger, and especially now in the warm weather, more animals are being brought in,” she said. “We do everything we can to try to place and care for these animals, but we really need the public to come in and support us.”

But the story isn’t all tragic.

“When [the expert] got to the sanctuary, the birds were traumatized and scared,” Hirsch said of the bird expert’s experience at the sanctuary. “After about a week, she was working one night, and one of the birds said, ‘Are you coming back?’ and she said ‘yes’, and the birds started saying goodnight.”

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