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Clarification sought on parakeet order from Youngwood

| Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

The long-awaited homecoming for Gizmo, the banned monk parakeet seized from Youngwood, will have to wait until at least later this week.

Lawyers are expected to appear before Westmoreland County Judge Gary Caruso on Monday to ask that he clarify an order issued earlier this month that directed the 27-year-old bird be returned to its owner, Faith Good of Youngwood.

Good, 63, pleaded guilty last year to several summary offenses and was fined $500 for having illegal birds, including Gizmo, in her home.

Gizmo was confiscated by the game commission and is living in a state-run menagerie in an undisclosed location, where he has been held since last March.

“We're having trouble enforcing the order. We cannot enforce the order as it is written. The game commission needs clarification. We fully intend to comply with the order,” said Assistant District Attorney Kelly Hammers.

On Friday, Hammers filed a court document officially asking Caruso to amend his order that will allow the bird to be reunited with its owner.

Last week, Caruso ruled that, although the bird was contraband, the former family pet should be returned to Good.

Game officials in Pennsylvania said monk parakeets cannot be housed by private owners because the birds are agricultural pests that could ruin crops and cause power outages by building nests on electrical lines.

Caruso did not overrule the game commission's contention that it was illegal for Good to own Gizmo.

But he ruled that the bird should be returned to Good because she purchased the bird as a family pet two decades ago and did not know it was a species that was prohibited for private ownership.

The judge ordered that Gizmo must be kept indoors, must remain in Good's possession and could not be mated.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media.

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