Debby Porter was at home caring for her animals when the knock came at the door. Employees from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services confiscated her birds and euthanized them.
Porter is a retired professional stuntwoman who rescues animals. She says, “Even as a child, I was taught to love and honor animals by both of my parents. We had chicks, ducks, frogs, guinea pigs, a chipmunk, rats, dogs and cats.”
“After I retired from doing stunt work in 2004 I began to rescue animals. I got into crow and raven rescue when I found a crow in my backyard that had been shot. He couldn’t be returned to the wild, so I kept him.”
Porter’s concern for wild birds reached local veterinarians. “When they learned that I was willing to rehabilitate corvids, they began to send me birds. I had two nestling babies that were covered in Avian pox, and they got medical care right away.
“One of them, ‘Moses,’ ended up losing a foot as a result of his injuries before he came to me. Because of these babies needing constant medical attention, they became imprinted on me, imposing a parent profile on me.
“Once a bird is imprinted, it cannot be returned to the wild because it is used to being fed daily, and would not know how to hunt or forage. If released, it might not be accepted by other crow communities, and could be mobbed or killed by them. If they approach an unsuspecting human, they could be injured or killed.
Porter’s interest soon expanded. “I learned online that I could purchase an African hybrid raven. I was excited because I hadn’t had much interaction with ravens, and always thought they were beautiful.
“Edgar arrived at LAX in a nest box from Alabama. He was only six weeks old. He was the most beautiful thing I’d seen, with his baby blue eyes (their eyes turn a dark grey-brown when they get older) and pink mouth. He had been captive raised and hand fed, and bonded to me immediately.
Porter says that ravens are one of the world’s most intelligent birds. Edgar soon learned to talk and would say “hello,” “what!” and sing an aria that Porter taught him.
“He would come when called. He was so mischievous, often stealing things he knew I didn’t want and flying away with them,” says Porter.
Porter moved to the High Desert and had a 12-foot by 20-foot stainless steel aviary built in her back yard so that she would have the proper place for her birds. Unfortunately, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife laws, any bird that is blind, missing a limb or otherwise injured to the point where it cannot survive in the wild must be euthanized.
“I gave sanctuary to these unfortunate birds, who were otherwise healthy, to live out their lives as a community of happy, well-fed and cared for sentient beings,” says Porter. But three months ago agents confiscated and killed the birds.
“I have rescued ravens and crows for eight years, giving them medical care and sanctuary at a great financial and personal cost to me. I was in the process of being permitted Federally. They euthanized the birds which couldn’t be returned to the wild, even though my outdoor aviary is equipped for handicapped birds.”
“Corvids are not allowed to be kept by private parties. I’m not a hoarder, I let these birds have life, and the ones that were rehabilitated were set free,” Porter continued.
That was not the end of it. A few days ago a California State Fish and Game warden arrived at her door to take her raven, saying that she doesn’t have a state permit. They want to take him and euthanize him, and threatened Porter with a misdemeanor citation.
Edgar is her only remaining bird, which the Federal Government said she could keep. Now the state wants to kill him. He is an African Pied Crow/Brown necked raven hybrid.
“All I’m asking is for Fish and Game to give me the permit needed to keep my raven,” says Porter. She has started a petition at EdgartheRaven. Edgar has his own Facebook page.
Additionally, to help Debby, California Fish and Game can be contacted at State of California Fish and Game Department, Law Enforcement Division, 4665 Lampson Avenue, Suite C, Los Alamitos, CA 90720. You can leave a message on their Facebook page.
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