Save our Seabirds dispute could affect bird care

  • 1

SARASOTA---Save our Seabirds founder Lee Fox was fired last month, and now many claim the organization is no longer providing the level of care it once was.

"There were a lot of discrepancies and violations on the aviaries so what I wanted to help fix those," says Greg Para, a former volunteer with Save our Seabirds. He says since the firing of Lee Fox, birds haven't been receiving the same level of care.  "Some of the birds who have been there 4 and 5 years have now been euthanized, and one of the workers actually posted on Facebook and said now that the founder is gone we don't have to take the time to rehab the birds, we can simply euthanized them."

And Para says he has other concerns. "There's a lot of rats in the facility.  They've killed some birds, maimed some birds...we're just trying to get the enclosures better care."

The city of Sarasota is currently investigating the claims.  S.O.S. officials say those results will show their care has not declined.  "The city managers came out with an unannounced inspection and gave us rave reviews and we passed with flying colors. Our animals are well cared for. We are very proud of what we do, we have a great team in place they take great pride in their work," said David Pilston, Save our Seabirds Director.

Pilston does admits euthanizations are now occurring more often, but he says they're necessary.  "Our permits require putting certain birds down.  Our permits are very specific about what types of birds we can keep and how long we can keep them.  Unfortunately those permits weren't followed before but now they are," added Pilston.

There is still one problem: the permits to rehab and house the birds were approved using the former director's certification, which means the organization is currently operating without proper the federal and state certifications.

That's a situation Pilston says they're trying to fixing.  "All of our paper work is in order, it take a little bit of time but we are in transitions and this isn't the first time this has happened when a rehabber leaves a facility."

But bird activist aren't satisfied, they plan on highlighting there concerns at a rally on June 29th at 10am in front of the Save our Seabirds facility.

The Sarasota city commissioners will discuss the matter at their next meeting and the results of their investigation will be available on Wednesday June 25.