News Alert: Hordes of birds and snakes, dead and alive, discovered in Weston home

House at 82 Newtown Turnpike in Weston where hundreds of birds and snakes were found. — Gregory Menti photo

House at 82 Newtown Turnpike in Weston where hundreds of birds and snakes were found. — Gregory Menti photo

Weston police uncovered hundreds of exotic birds and snakes, many in poor condition or dead, at a home in Weston yesterday afternoon.

Weston Animal Control Officer Mark Harper said in his 26 years in the business he has never seen such “deplorable conditions.”

“The house was inundated with birds and snakes. There were feces everywhere,” he said.

About 14 exotic birds, including macaws, parrots and a laughing kookaburra, were rescued from a modest white home at 82 Newtown Turnpike by a state HazMat team on Thursday.

In an aviary building on the property, Harper said there were approximately 100 additional birds, mostly parrots and parakeets, which will be removed today. The birds could be heard chirping from inside the building this morning.

In addition to the birds discovered in the home, there were also a large number of non-venomous snakes inside, which Harper said appeared to be pythons. He estimated 40 to 50 snakes were taken out alive by the HazMat team. “About “80% of the snakes in there were dead,” he said.

There were also some reptiles found.

Weston Police Sergeant Patrick Daubert said the gruesome discovery was made Thursday afternoon around 2:30 after police received a call about a foul odor coming from near the home. Animal Control and Weston police officers responded. “Usually, a smell like that comes from a dead body,” Sgt. Daubert said.

There was no one at home at the time, and that’s when the birds and snakes were found. Because the smell was so strong, officers called the Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection for assistance and a HazMat team arrived on the scene. “You could not go into the house without a respirator,” police said.

An animal rescue group from Massachusetts took custody of the live birds and snakes in the house, leaving the ones in the aviary overnight.

Following the discovery, police called the property’s owner, Daniel Kopulos, who has owned the house since 2009. Kopulos arrived at the property after police called and said he planned to stay there overnight, but police said the house could not be inhabited.

According to an account on Facebook, Kopulos is the executive director of the Animal Preservation Alliance and owner of Fauna NYC, a pet store which until recently was located on the upper west side of New York City. In a story about Kopulos online, it says he makes annual pilgrimages to Guatemala to save endangered scarlet macaws.

A home at 82 Newtown Turnpike in Weston where hundreds of birds and snakes were found is owned by Daniel Kopulos, owner of Fauna NYC, a New York pet store.

A home at 82 Newtown Turnpike in Weston where hundreds of birds and snakes were found is owned by Daniel Kopulos, owner of Fauna NYC, a New York pet store.

A post  on Facebook dated Sept. 10, says Fauna NYC  has moved to Yonkers. “Hi Everyone,” the post says. “We are moved into our new location located in Yonkers, but unfortunately Verizon has failed to get our phone line and internet transferred. It looks as though it may be several more days before it is all set up properly.”

A call made to Fauna NYC this morning has a recording that says the number is not in service.

Police say a co-owner of the home at 82 Newtown Turnpike, Marc Valitutto, has not lived on the property in years and they do not believe he had anything to do with the collection of creatures inside.

The value of the birds and snakes is estimated at about $100,000.

Investigation at the home is ongoing. “We are conducting a joint investigation with other agencies,” said Sgt Daubert.

An aviary building at 82 Newtown Turnpike in Weston has about 100 birds in it.

An aviary building at 82 Newtown Turnpike in Weston has about 100 birds in it.

Forum Reporter Gregory Menti contributed to this story

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  • WizardMage

    why must it always be the innocent animals who suffer because of human neglect, carelessness, selfish greed and pure ignorance?

  • Christina

    What animal rescue were all of the animals set to??

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