A NURIOOTPA business owner has thanked the community for its support, after it led to the recovery of around 70 birds that were stolen over two nights last week.
The Farm Barn – a stockist of a variety of animals, pet accessories and food – was targeted by three young locals who gained entry to the business on Monday and Tuesday night last week, and stole a number of birds.
Some of the breeds stolen included Princess Parrots, Love Birds, Kakarikis, Turquoise Parrots, Pied Elegants and Quail.
The Farm Barn owner, Jodie Schilling, took to social media on Wednesday after already reporting both incidents to police, asking community members to come forward if they could offer information.
Within hours, the post had gained significant traction and evidence started to spill in, leading police to attend an address north of Nuriootpa, where some of the birds were recovered.
Police then attended a second address in Nuriootpa where six more birds were found.
Ms Schilling said the community’s support and kindness throughout the ordeal was very heart-warming, and that she couldn’t thank those who came forward enough.
“After the second day, with about 70 birds missing, I thought ‘someone has got to know something, someone can’t just have 70 extra birds in their backyard and not be realised’,” she said.
“I thought ‘stuff it, I have got to put something up’.
“Amazingly enough, within four or five hours I had the first people starting to come in store and say ‘I think I might know where your birds are’.
“Without the community supporting us we might not have ever found them.”
Ms Schilling said, although the birds have been recovered, there has been ongoing damage to not only the business, but also to the animals.
“With birds, stress can be pretty full-on, and the fact that they were just thrown into one big cage, and some boxes, and weren’t really looked after properly, is probably the most devastating thing,” she said.
“As I got them back and I was putting them back into the cage, you could feel that they were really light and stressed out, and even now, days and days on, some of them have hardly moved or made a noise.
“We have been doing everything we can, giving them extra treats and vitamins to have the best possible outcome, but, unfortunately, we have lost a couple since.”
Police made several arrests in relation to the incident, including a 15-year-old boy and 16-year-old boy from Nuriootpa, and a 17-year-old boy from the Barossa.
All were reported for two counts of unlawfully being on premises, two counts of theft, and two counts of property damage.
The trio will be summonsed to appear in court at a later date.