Animal Law

Fined $15 Over Cockatoo's Saucy Squawks, Bird's Owner Is Appealing on Constitutional Grounds

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It isn’t so much the $15 fine as the constitutional principle at issue, according to a Rhode Island woman who owns a cockatoo who reportedly squawks a blue streak.

Lynne L. Taylor has already appealed to state superior court a Sept. 17 finding by Municipal Court Judge Joel Gerstenblatt that the bird violated a municipal ordinance specifically directed at noisy pets, the Providence Journal reports.

Taylor’s lawyer, Stephen M. Peltier, says the ordinance is too vague to give pet owners sufficient advance warning of when their animals might be considered too noisy, the newspaper recounts.

“Warwick’s statute merely says if it annoys somebody, it’s a public nuisance,” Peltier said.

An ABC News article written before the municipal court trial notes that the woman who complained about the cussing cockatoo is not only Taylor’s next-door neighbor but the girlfriend of Taylor’s ex-husband.

“Our life basically is hell. We have no quality of life. We can’t go out in our yard. We have no peace,” Kathleen Melker told ABC News.

She contends that Taylor intentionally trained the bird to make unprintable comments intended to insult her. The ABC article links to YouTube video in which Melker documents what she says is the sound of the bird’s trash-talking.

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