Report on Pierce County Proposed Ordinance February 2004, Laurella Desborough AFA Legislative Vice President


The following appears to be the scenario leading up to the proposed Pierce County Aviary Ordinance. About three years ago, disagreements between owners of two bird farms in counties adjacent to Pierce County, led breeder A to call the local humane society on breeder B. The humane society, along with a veterinarian, inspected breeder B s facility and reported everything was in order. In the Fall of 2002, breeder B moved their farm to Pierce County. A local pet bird owner/activist had been campaigning about "bad bird farms. " Someone reported the misinformation that breeder B had moved their birds onto the property of breeder C.

In January of 2003, the activist enlisted two women from PAWS to do some work on the bird farm matter. He sent them to an avian veterinarian in Kings County to receive instructions on the kinds of complaint items that would cause the humane society to take action. The two women then visited the bird facility of breeder Con the pretext of being potential clients. Immediately after leaving the facility, they presented a complaint of animal abuse to the Pierce County Humane Society. As the activist had been in regular contact with the Pierce County Humane Society regarding bird farms, the society staffers asked who he would recommend as an avian veterinarian to inspect breeder Cs facility. The activist recommended the veterinarian from Kings County, the same one who advised the women from PAWS.

The avian veterinarian, accompanied by the Pierce County Humane Society, then visited the facility of breeder C and was allowed to do an inspection. The avian vet inspected the facility in January and filed a report on in early March, 2003, with recommendations for specific 

changes. Jn June, 2003, the Pierce County Humane Society accompanied this veterinarian on a follow up inspection of breeder Cs farm. The PCHS sent a message to breeder C indicating that the avian vet was impressed with the improvements and would prepare a report. To date there is no record of this report being made.

Jn September, 2003, the activist was aggravated at the lack of stronger measures being taken by the PCHS against breeder C. Documents indicate he enlisted an animal rights activist to trespass on the property of breeder C. The activist was discovered on the farm and escorted off the property. The animal rights person then made a written report to the activist who allegedly sent it to the PCHS as a complaint against breeder C. The PCHS again visited the facility and reported that everything was fine.

Apparently this was not sufficient for the activist who then started a campaign. (Keep in mind, he never visited the facility.) He worked to push for further action from the humane society, and also, the Pierce County council members. Apparently he wanted the Pierce County Council to change the law so that the humane society did not have to obtain permission (such as a warrant) to enter a property. He communicated the matter to various internet discussion lists, to the Seattle Times newspaper, to the ABC television folks, and to several rescue individuals and organizations. Finally, Council member Barbara Gelman, District No. 5, and Council Member Shawn Bunney. District No. I sponsored an ordinance to create major changes in local regulations and give the humane society great leeway to conduct inspections, require permits and confiscate animals. A hearing was held on February 24 on proposed Ordinance 2004-3.