By Luke Kenton
This bizarre rescue saw the liberation of nearly 200 malnourished pigeons, who’d been held captive in a man’s basement after he began hoarding injured birds from the street.
For this elderly gentleman from Bucharest, Romania, what started as an innocent hobby to feed local pigeons quickly turned into an unhealthy obsession.
Driving around the capital city in a car loaded with bird feed, the old man would take in any injured birds he found during his daily excursions with the intention of nursing them back to health.
But, having quickly amassing 191 patients, the selfless sentiment soon became a serious health hazard.
Cramming the near double century of birds into a damp, dark basement, soon the pigeons had become riddled with diseases and plagued by a serious of ailments, with some even suffering from fractured wings as a result of the confined living space.
After a year of struggling in silence, on March 12 the old man reached out to Luana’s Dream Foundation, a local rescue group who agreed to come and rescue his infected fleet – saving their lives and possibly even his.
Leading the operation, animal veterinarian Rosu Ovidiu, said: “The smell was foul; the air really hard to breath – a lot of dust around.
“Sick birds were being kept in tiny boxes where he was trying to treat them, others were left to fly freely in another room.
“Unfortunately we have seen this before, where people try to help animals but end up hoarding them.
“The old man actually contact us asking for help. He was occupying an abandoned basement in central Bucharest and the police were set to evacuate both him and the birds.
“The biggest issue was the infectious diseases that some of the birds were carrying.
“We managed to evacuate and consider proper release of 157 pigeons from the 191 caught.
“The rest are being kept in our clinic for further treatment and will be released in the coming days.”