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#494106 - 08/01/14 02:14 AM A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro
Marty Offline
Tonight, the Forestry Department is in possession of 2 exotic birds who which have been on San Pedro for several years. They were confiscated from their former owners, the Halliday Family, the Forest Officer discovered that the family didn't have the proper documents to keep them as pets.

Forestry says, these parrots are not native to Belize, and so it is illegal for the family to keep them. So, when the Forestry Department went on the island for an education session, they happened on the Halliday pet birds.

What unfolded was a confrontation between the family, the police, and the Forestry Officer. With the help of amateur footage captured by one of the family members, Daniel Ortiz put together this story:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
This white bird in the top cage is Gabby a cuckatoo, the other is Captain Morgan, a macaw, known as Keppi. They used to be owned by the Halliday Family on San Pedro.??They look to be well cared for, even though they aren't in their usual cages.

They weren't so calm yesterday however, when the Forestry Department removed them from their homes, confiscating the exotic birds from the Hallidays who were reportedly breaking the law by keeping them as pets.

Notice that she managed to remove the bird from its cage while remaining on her phone the entire time. That's after this scene unfolded, a confrontation between police and Brian Halliday, son of Edward Halliday, who owned the birds.

He claims he was protecting his father's property. This happened because Forestry officer, Victoria Cawich exercised her authority and took custody of the birds. Police were there as her support.??The family wasn't expecting the state to start enforcement so quickly. Cawich and her colleague had promised to all viewers on the Good Morning San Pedro TV Show.

Victoria Cawich - Forestry Officer, Forestry Department
"The Forest Department is here along with Belize Bird Rescue to - it's not to start but to continue the licensing process of parrots because we know some people here in the island own parrots and one; it is illegal to have them, but because we recognize that a lot of people have these parrots we are here to issue them. 1) You have to apply for it and then we do an inspection and then if you pass the inspection you get your permit to keep your parrot. The parrot will also be banned so everybody would know that you have a legal bird. With that, we have been on the island in many occasions to see people who already have parrots and most of the times people feel we are here to remove the parrots, but we are not here to remove anyone's parrot unless they are not in healthy conditions of if they are in a dire state."

The Halliday family says that she wasn't so understanding or reasonable when she encountered them, and none of the unhealthy conditions existed for her to justify removing them for their own safety.

Edward "Eddie" Halliday - Bird Owner
"Their orders were that we are here to confiscate the birds, we are not here to talk to anybody, we are not here to ask any questions, we are here to confiscate the birds which they did and they took the birds away."

Edward Halliday is a bird lover, who says that he's had these birds for a long time, and that he's well-known on the island for it

Edward "Eddie" Halliday - Bird Owner
"Keppi which is the macaw, it's not a scarlet macaw, its miligold macaw, it was cross bred in captivity to where it is. Keppi has been with me over 20 years. Keppi was being handled by a German guy called Herman the German, who got Keppi from two people that were called the "Pirates" that had Captain Locust Bar which is today Big Daddy's. Herman the German says Eddie, you take that bird. He doesn't act like that with me, he obviously loves you, and so you keep that bird. Gabby was left with me by the owner which is Robert Vogues. I have been in touch with Robert. Robert has sent me documentation, we've gone to Forestry and they want more documentation, but according to the lazy, if we could provide the documentation for Gabby she will give them back."

Daniel Ortiz
"Do you believe in any way that you are breaking any laws by having them as your pets?"

Edward "Eddie" Halliday - Bird Owner
"I don't believe so. Like I mentioned before have had Keppi over 20 years. I ask the Forestry lady, I said ma'am, fine, you came, you were on a morning show on the Reef TV and you said that you were not here to take away people's bird, but to educate people and to show people how they should handle their birds and then we are here to register those birds. We will have a meeting tonight at the Lion's Den, we want everybody to come in and register their birds and if you don't do it you have until December to do it. But in fact that was a lie."

Supt. Luis Castellanos - OC, San Pedro Police
"I believe that the young lady Ms. Victoria Cawich and the police that went with her, they actually spoke for almost an hour to an hour and a half trying to convince them that the birds cannot be held and so I believe that the young lady used all her discretion to try to explain to them that they cannot hold the birds."

But why would both sides go through all of this over - of all things - birds?

Brian Halliday - Son of Eddie Halliday
"When I came here I ask them to please leave my property because at the end of the day I know that there were other procedures that should have been taken place than where they were at the position at the time. When they left the premises I went ahead and I grab the lock, lock the gate and then two police officers came. They know me good and they started to talk to me, they said Brian, just let it be, let them take the birds - they said that will take it to the police station and they will have it there for the time being and if you guys work it out you can have it back. When things started to get out of hand that I wasn't allowing them to come into the property, it seems to me that Mr. Castellanos authorized two more police officers to come over. Those two were neighbors, they see me every day - I give them my respect. They came to the property with intentions to arrest me, no questions ask."

Supt. Luis Castellanos - OC, San Pedro Police
"Whilst they were checking the area, they came across two birds that I mention and as such they ask for police assistance. The thing turned out to be kind of hectic when they tried to confiscate the parrots. I sent police officers and then the son of Mr. Halliday obstructed the police and the forestry officer and as such we had to detain them."

"I was out there personally and I saw that they used the necessary force to detain him. He was behaving disorderly, he was resisting arrest and as such the police had to use or man-handle him to have him escorted to the station. I did not see that they abused their authority. However though there is a process in the police department where if you believe that they used excessive force we have an internal division where it can be investigated and then from there we could move on from there."

To the outside observer, it may seem trivial, but to the Hallidays, those birds were part of their family, something which the Forestry Department Rep. wasn't fully appreciating.

Edward "Eddie" Halliday - Bird Owner
"I told her at the station last night, if you were nice about this and you didn't bring the police to harass my family to arrest my son, to put my son in a choke-hold, my son is all bruise up from the roughing up - for birds. Is that necessary? We have people killing in San Pedro and Belize. We have drugs rampant on the island and they are not doing anything about that. But they came to a law abiding house with law abiding citizens - we don't have a police record, we've never been to court and the way they harass us yesterday was like we are old time criminals."

Supt. Luis Castellanos - OC, San Pedro Police
"I understand they have the birds for quite some years now, the gentleman mentioned 32 years, maybe more, maybe less, I don't know, but I know that he is 32 years and to get losing the birds it would have created problems and he didn't want to lose the birds, but however the birds cannot be kept unless they have an import or an export license to show that they were imported legally into the country."

This evening, we got an opportunity to speak with Cawich, who explained to us that yes indeed, they had not intention of confiscating any parrots, which are native to Belize. She told us that all the parrots which make their homes in country have remained with their owners who have them illegally in captivity. Those residents on San Pedro who have any such birds will be allowed to register and comply with the law, and keep their pets.

She added that in the case of the Cockatoo and the Macaw, they aren't native birds and so, it is illegal to own them because they were likely smuggled into the country. Because the Halliday family can't show proper documents from the authorities in the Countries which these birds are from, the Forestry Department is forced to keep them confiscated. Cawich adds that if the Halliday family can show that these birds weren't smuggled into the country, then, they will be given back.

Channel 7

#494113 - 08/01/14 04:55 AM Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro [Re: Marty]
govikes Offline
This is a perfect example of sheer ignorance on the part of BZ authorities. Many people on the island know Gabby, Robert brought her to the island as a young bird, and NO ONE takes better care of their pets than Eddie does. The stress being inflicted on the birds by their removal could quite likely be enough to kill them in itself. Do you think the authorities actually know how to properly take care of them? Where are they living now? What kind of care are they getting? It sounds a lot more like a vendetta than anything else. And yes, I realize some are going to say I am making judgments when I don't know the whole story, but there was a much better way for authorities to handle this than to confiscate them.

#494117 - 08/01/14 06:11 AM Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro [Re: Marty]
Diane Campbell Offline
After 20 years the birds are attached to their families - to remove them this way is cruel and harsh to the birds.
I agree that they should ideally be left in the wild and not kept as "pets" at all - but a bird who has been living with humans its whole life just can't fly away and have that natural life ....... it's too late for that and they are smart, with deep emotional bonds.
I honestly don't think this helped anybody, certainly not the birds.

#494119 - 08/01/14 06:40 AM Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro [Re: Marty]
bobcat bill Offline
Hold a protest rally just like in the 1960's

#494120 - 08/01/14 06:42 AM Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro [Re: Marty]
Diane Campbell Offline
Like Kent State? No thanks.

#494121 - 08/01/14 06:44 AM Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro [Re: Marty]
bobcat bill Offline
or Chicago???

#494134 - 08/01/14 01:36 PM Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro [Re: bobcat bill]
klcman Offline
for what it is worth, neither of those events were in the 60's.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman

#494137 - 08/01/14 03:43 PM Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro [Re: Diane Campbell]
Rigrat Offline
Just to let people know that the birds are both fine and calm and we are hoping that the leg and the foot of the Macaw will hopefully be saved. The home made band that had cut into the leg has been removed at AMC and we will see if the wound on the leg and the horribly swollen foot will subside over the next few weeks. The Molluscan Cockatoo has a heavily plucked chest, no feathers at all on the legs, and the underside of one wing is bloody and featherless from the feather plucking. This bird was known to be in excellent condition a few years ago but being confined in an undersized filthy cage had caused the bird to develop severe mental problems that we hope to curtail with better living conditions and socialisation.
Both birds were kept in extremely substandard conditions in cages that had not been cleaned for a long while and were heavily encrusted with faeces. Also it is evident that both birds had not had a shower for a very long time and were very dirty. They also did not have food or water available in their cages when seized by the Forestry department.
However the real reason for the seizure is that both of these birds do not have any paperwork whatsoever to allow them to be in Belize. Mollucan Cockatoos are critically endangered and cannot be imported to Belize without CITES paperwork. The Macaw is a crossbreed of a Military Macaw and a blue and gold. If this bird flew away (it is fully flighted)and encountered some of the last remaining Scarlet Macaws in Belize, it could be disastrous for their survival. This bird would never be allowed into Belize because of this, so had to have been smuggled in from somewhere like Mexico.
If the Hallidays can come up with the Cites Paperwork for the birds, then the birds will go back as long as the Hallidays improve the conditions under which they were living.

#494139 - 08/01/14 04:20 PM Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro [Re: Marty]
Welland Offline
Sounds like it was in the best interest of the birds to be removed.

#494169 - 08/02/14 10:31 AM Re: A Battle Over Birds On San Pedro [Re: klcman]
Diane Campbell Offline
Originally Posted By: klcman
for what it is worth, neither of those events were in the 60's.

Everybody knows the 60's actually happened in the 70's ---- that's part of the charm of time travel.

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