Pet cockatoo detained at London-Heathrow for three months due to paperwork snafu

BasPhoto / / Twickenham Nub News

A cockatoo has been detained at London-Heathrow Airport (LHR) for over three months now due to missing paperwork.

Charlie the rose-breasted cockatoo flew from Pennsylvania to London to join his owner, Jess Adlard, who had moved to the United Kingdom nine months earlier. 

Charlie arrived at LHR airport in August 2023 but instead of a reunion with his owner, the four-year old cockatoo was detained at the airport due to missing paperwork.

Adlard told various media outlets that the original export permit is missing, though she claims that the document was with Charlie when he left the United States.

“We have sent picture copies over to them, but they say they need to see the original — but it was with Charlie,” Adlard was quoted by the  New York Post.

Adlard, who spent $7,300 to transport Charlie to the UK from the US, said that she and her husband have not heard from Heathrow since September.

Charlie has reportedly been showing signs of distress, banging his head on his cage, and plucking his feathers. Staff at Heathrow’s animal facility have been playing the 2011 movie Rio, about talking birds, on a tablet to help comfort him.

Adlard said she suffers from depression and anxiety and Charlie had helped her alleviate her stress.

According to the UK’s Home Office, the department responsible for immigration and security, wildlife arriving in the UK are subject to “strict domestic and international law”.

“Where required documentation isn’t presented, Border Force can seize pets,” the agency said. “We take the welfare of animals in our care seriously and those in our protection are looked after in suitable facilities by trained staff, with specialist veterinary care available if required.”

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