Posted: January 8, 2009, 8:00 p.m. EDT
Max, the blue-and-gold macaw was stolen from The Pet Village, in Texas, on August 26, 2008. On January 5, 2009, he was returned to the store.
Since August 26, 2008, Max, a blue-and-gold macaw, hadn't been seen. Stolen from his cage at The Pet Village pet store in Duncanville, Texas, Max, a blue and gold macaw, had been missing for more than four months. (For more details, click here.)
Today, Max is home again, happy and healthy, save for a torn ligament, noticeable weight loss and a few ruffled feathers.
Stephanie Roberts, co-owner of The Pet Village, is still gleefully shocked that her beloved parrot is home again. The lead first came in on December 30, 2008, when a person (who wished to remain anonymous) walked into the store and said he knew the local house where Max was located. The holidays pushed back the opportunity for the Duncanville Police Department to investigate the tip, but by Monday, January 5, 2009, Max was back at home in the store, perched on top of his cage and greeting passers-by again.
Not much is known about the life Max lead in the four months he was away from the pet store after his kidnapping, but all signs so far indicate that it was a bleak way of life.
He was found inside a house without a cage, spending his days and nights on a floor, stepping in his own droppings. His beak was overgrown from months without a regular trimming, and he was noticeably thinner, the result of being fed parakeet food instead of his normal diet. Roberts said the torn ligament in Max's toe was likely suffered when he was forcefully removed from his cage during the kidnapping. Much to Roberts' delight, a veterinary check-up confirmed that Max was in otherwise good health.
After police confiscated Max from the house and transferred him to the local Tri-City Animal Shelter, Roberts was able to see her parrot for the first time in four months. Despite the time that had passed and the trauma he had endured, Max recognized Roberts instantly.
"He saw me, he looked at me, and he said, 'Aww,'" Roberts said. "I knew it was him. That was one of our things."
Legal technicalities required that Max stay in the shelter for the weekend, but Roberts visited him, crying as the bird would reach out from his cage to grab and hold her hand, just like he had always done at The Pet Village.
When Max was finally returned to the pet store on Monday, January 5, 2009, Roberts said it was like a "love fest" to reunite him with the employees, all of whom have been offering him fruit and vegetables to welcome him back. Max has since resumed his position atop his cage at the front of the store, screaming at people who walk by to draw them into the store, talking with employees and chatting with the store's resident cat. Max is definitely happy to be home, Roberts said.
While the man who kept Max in his house denies any wrongdoing, asserting that he purchased the parrot without knowing he was stolen, the Duncanville police are still investigating. The person who delivered the anonymous tip that revealed Max's location will receive the $2,000 reward that had been raised to encourage Max's safe return, and Roberts couldn't be more grateful toward him.
"Friends and family would ask me what I wanted for Christmas, and I said, 'I just want Max, just bring him home,'" Roberts said. "So this was the best thing that ever could happen."