MT. SINAI, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A valuable parrot that was considered part of its family turned up dead after being mistakenly taken from groomers at a pet shop.
Although police ruled the case non criminal, the store owners and the grieving family have unanswered questions, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday.
The Faroogh family of Mt. Sinai can barely look at their parrot’s empty cage.
“I feel so bad for Sunny, because just imagine starving and freezing to death,” Faris Faroogh said.
The Farooghs brought Sunny to their favorite pet store for grooming. As they waited, another customer who owned a python stopped in for mice to feed his snake. Suddenly, as surveillance video shows, the customer picked up the wrong container — the big box with the flapping bird — and took off in his van.
“Tears, crying, sleepless nights,” Faris said.
Sunny was purchased as a therapy pet for Faris’ mom, Iffat, who has been going through emotional turmoil.
“I feel happy with him. My loneliness gone,” Iffat said.
Sunny was a South American Quaker parrot, which are known for talking, kissing, snuggling and riding around on the head or shoulder.
Quaker parrots can live to age 20 and cost up to $1,000 each.
So it came as a blow that four days after Suffolk police reported Sunny missing the customer who took the bird came forward to say it was merely an accident.
“He didn’t think twice. He just threw it out. That’s what he told the cops,” Faris said.
The customer said he forgot about the box for a day and left it in his car, only to discover no mice but a frozen bird.
“He should have immediately called us because we probably could have gave him electrolytes and boosted his metabolism and heat right away and maybe saved him,” B.T.J.’s Pet Store owner Thomas Niehoff said.
“We got so attached to Sunny because he brought a different environment into the house,” Faris said.
Some involved in the case have other theories, including that the parrot was sold or even used as a meal.
“Some snakes only eat birds,” Niehoff said.
“I can’t handle it. This was my cutie pie bird, you know?” Iffat said.
Police said no charges have been filed in the case.
The pet store is actively searching for a parrot to give the Farooghs, as a replacement for Sunny.