PLAINVILLE - Over the past several months, Plainville Animal Control Officer Donna Weinhofer has found several abandoned pets, from rabbits to a costly tropical bird, and has been working to find them homes.
Three weeks ago, a green-cheeked conure, which Weinhofer said retails for $500, was brought to the pound, where it was tested for diseases. After it was found to be clean, the Connecticut Parrot Society offered to take care of it. The conure is 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 abandoned in a small cat carrier outside Lowe’s. They have been adopted by a local police officer with a farm and are producing eggs for him.
Several domestic rabbits have also turned up, with Weinhofer finding them three months ago, two months ago and as recently as April. One young rabbit was given to Every Bunny Counts, an animal rescue operation based in 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 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 bumblefoot because it couldn’t get into 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 guinea hen was brought to a farm in Coventry.
Weinhofer said that people must be prepared to care for an animal for years, 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 reminds pet owners not to leave animals in their cars now that warm 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 (open).”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.