SARASOTA -The controversy surrounding a local animal rescue group continues to heat up.
"Its about time for this nonsense to stop," said Save our Seabirds director David Pilston. He says since the split with the organization's founder Lee Fox they have been fending off attack after attack.
"We've been accused of having an unsafe habitats. We've also been accused of only taking 5 birds a month and then that's been refined to saying we only take 5 birds a week. That's absolutely absurd we take a hundred or more birds every month, " added Pilston.
But he says those accusation are just the beginning. "We were accused of operating illegally which is not true. We are in the process of transitions permits from one rehabber to another this is a normal process you can talk to Tallahassee you can talk to Atlanta."
So we took Pilston's advice and contacted Florida Fish and Wildlife. We found out the their permits did expire back on June 16th and according to the state they are currently out of business. Which means for almost a month they have been housing and displaying birds without the proper permits.
We also called the US Fish and Wildlife, the agency that grants the permit allowing Save our Seabirds to provide care to the animals. That permits: also expired. But that agency has granted them a grace period while a new application is processed. But some say allowing the SOS to continue to operate in between licenses is unethical.
"That's like saying I'm a doctor and I'm going to treat patients and when someone investigates me Im just going to say I'm in transition because eventually I will get my license. That means you're practicing illegally and that's what Save our Seabirds is doing," said Greg Para.
In addition to the permitting issues Para says that the animal's safety is also a concern.
"Rats are getting into the cages and they are attacking the migratory birds they're attacking the parrots and they getting in a number of ways so unless you send someone verse in rodents issues in to examine the issue you wouldn't see that in broad daylight."