The Weston Board of Selectmen has approved a supplemental appropriation for $15,000 for the care of birds rescued from 82 Newtown Turnpike, in an animal hoarding case dating back to September.
The appropriation is contingent on approval from the Board of Finance at its January meeting, and developing a written agreement with Rhode Island Parrot Rescue, the organization housing more than 100 exotic birds taken from the Weston home.
In October, the boards voted to approve an appropriation of $21,625 to go to the rescue group. However, Weston’s animal control officer, Mark Harper, said there were “wrenches thrown into the gears” regarding financial negotiations with Rhode Island Parrot Rescue.
He said negotiations may get “very serious and very complicated, very quickly.”
“Things are changing rapidly,” Harper said, refusing to elaborate. “If we know the selectmen will approve it [the $15,000 appropriation], I think that would help us in our negotiations with the group.
He said if the parrot rescue group understands the procedure, and the selectmen and finance board approve the appropriation, as they did in October, it would be a step in the right direction to resolving issues with the group. “I wish you would approve the $15,000 and put your faith in myself and everyone involved. We’re going to get this thing resolved,” Harper told the selectmen.
Town Administrator Tom Landry agreed with Harper that making the appropriation was an important move. He said it was a “show of good faith” with the group and will help “put them a little at ease.”
The birds were seized from a Weston home in September, along with a large number of snakes and reptiles, following a neighbor’s report to police of a “bad odor” coming from the property. In addition to a large number of living animals, police and health officials found the bodies of hundreds of dead animals in the home and an outbuilding on the premises. Harper called it one of the worst cases of animal hoarding he had ever seen.
The home’s owner, Daniel Kopulos, was arrested and charged with animal cruelty in October. Kopulos was the executive director of the Animal Preservation Alliance and the founder of Fauna, an upscale pet store which until recently was located on the upper west side of New York City. The store has since closed.
Kopulos has a court date of Friday, Jan. 6 in Norwalk Superior Court.