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Thread: Lilawattie Buerattan and Moses Lall

  1. #1

    mystery Lilawattie Buerattan and Moses Lall

    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1178dffl.html

    Lilawattie Buerattan
    Missing since June 4, 1994 from Loxahatchee, Palm Beach County, Florida.
    Classification: Endangered Missing

    Vital Statistics
    • Date Of Birth: March 23, 1959
    • Age at Time of Disappearance: 35 years old
    • Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'6"; 115 lbs.
    • Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. (Native of Guyana) Black hair; brown eyes.
    • AKA: Lila Bueratian; Lila Buerattan
    • Circumstances of Disappearance
    On June 5, 1994, a feed company delivery man made a routine stop at Moses Lall's exotic bird ranch near West Palm Beach, Florida.
    When no one came to meet him at the gate, Darryl Crewe hopped the fence. Crewe was amazed to find the ranch deserted. Hundreds of exotic birds (worth almost $700,000 in total) had been left unattended. Darryl had expected to find one of 4 people - either Moses Lall, his aunt, Lila Buerattan, or the ranch hands, Hari Gobin and Roland Felix Eyoum. The next day Crewe returned to find the feed he had left behind still there and the birds obviously unfed.
    The authorities were notified but a bureaucratic snafu delayed any investigation for 10 days. When Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputies followed up, they found hundreds of the birds dead or dying in their cages.
    Moses Lall and Lila Buerattan came from a family of bird importers based in Guyana, South America. In 1993, federal restrictions on importing wild birds prompted them to concentrate on breeding birds instead. Buerattan became the caregiver and completely handled the whole breeding operation. Lall generally handled the business end. He delegated most of the daily chores to Hari Gobin who was also from Guyana. Gobin had worked for Lall and Buerattan since they started the ranch in 1992.
    The other missing ranch hand, Roland Felix Eyoum, was from Africa. He was the brother of one of Moses Lall's business contacts. Two days after sheriff's deputies discovered the dying birds, they tracked Roland Felix Eyoum to New York City. Eyoum told detectives that his co-worker, Hari Gobin had related a story to him, claiming that 2 men in a white van had taken Lall and Buerattan away at gunpoint, along with some of the birds.
    On June 7, 1994 Gobin disappeared after a run-in with police in Georgia where he had identified himself as Moses Lall.


    <HR>
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1048dmfl.html

    Bhagwaniala Lall
    Missing since June 4, 1994 from Loxahatchee, Palm Beach County, Florida.
    Classification: Endangered Missing


    Vital Statistics
    • Date Of Birth: December 27, 1962
    • Age at Time of Disappearance: 31 years old
    • Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'8"; 165 lbs.
    • Distinguishing Characteristics: Black male. Black hair; brown eyes.
    • AKA: Moses


    <HR>Circumstances of Disappearance
    On June 5, 1994, a feed company delivery man made a routine stop at Moses Lall's exotic bird ranch near West Palm Beach, Florida.
    When no one came to meet him at the gate, Darryl Crewe hopped the fence. Crewe was amazed to find the ranch deserted. Hundreds of exotic birds (worth almost $700,000 in total) had been left unattended. Darryl had expected to find one of 4 people - either Moses Lall, his aunt, Lila Buerattan, or the ranch hands, Hari Gobin and Roland Felix Eyoum. The next day Crewe returned to find the feed he had left behind still there and the birds obviously unfed.
    The authorities were notified but a bureaucratic snafu delayed any investigation for 10 days. When Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputies followed up, they found hundreds of the birds dead or dying in their cages. While animal control experts took charge of the birds, sheriff's deputies began trying to understand the disappearance of the caretakers.
    Moses Lall and Lila Buerattan came from a family of bird importers based in Guyana, South America. In 1993, federal restrictions on importing wild birds prompted them to concentrate on breeding birds instead. Buerattan became the caregiver and completely handled the whole breeding operation. Lall generally handled the business end. He delegated most of the daily chores to Hari Gobin who was also from Guyana. Gobin had worked for Lall and Buerattan since they started the ranch in 1992. The other missing ranch hand, Roland Felix Eyoum, was tracked to New York City. Eyoum told detectives that his co-worker, Hari Gobin had related a story to him, claiming that 2 men in a white van had taken Lall and Buerattan away at gunpoint, along with some of the birds.
    On June 7, 1994 Gobin disappeared after a run-in with police in Georgia where he had identified himself as Moses Lall.
    Last edited by Starless; 09-07-2008 at 06:54 PM.

  2. #2

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    The Palm Beach Post
    June 27, 1994
    Topics:
    Index Terms:
    ANIMAL LOXAHATCHEE
    EXOTIC BIRD BREEDING BOOMS IN LOXAHATCHEE

    Author: CAROLYN FRETZ

    Dateline: LOXAHATCHEE

    Article Text:
    There's a million-dollar bird-raising industry tucked away in Loxahatchee and about two weeks ago, it got a whole lot more interesting.
    Bird buyers and industry regulators estimate that 50 percent of the nation's exotic birds are raised in Loxahatchee - on obscure pieces of land where breeders are known to some of the locals but a virtual secret to the rest of the world.
    Like bird raising, bird stealing is big business. And some of the birds raised there, such as Hyacinth Macaws and Goliath Black Palm Cockatoos, are worth more than $10,000 apiece.
    And, now - because of the disappearance of the owners of a Velazquez Road farm and the death of hundreds of their birds - it's also the center of local attention.
    It's the kind of attention bird breeders don't want.
    Birds are becoming popular pets at the same time new restrictions on trafficking in wild birds have gone into effect worldwide. So, just as demand is growing, the traditional source of supply has virtually disappeared, say breeders, buyers and regulators.
    As a result, a business that just 20 years ago was based almost exclusively on an occasionally imported commodity is today the foundation of a new domestic agri-industry called aviculture.
    Birds that sold for $100 just a few months ago are selling for $500 today, said Dr. Matthew Bond, staff veterinarian at Scott Schubot's Avicultural Breeding and Research Center in Loxahatchee.
    Profit margins can be phenomenal, Schubot said. For example, a mated pair of African Grey Parrots costs about $2,000. They can produce as many as 40 to 50 eggs a year, with each baby eventually selling for between $500 and $1,000. Feed, medicine and other care for the lot could be about $10,000 for the year. So on a $12,000 investment a breeder could make as much as $38,000 in profit.
    That's the best case scenario, said Howard Voren, a breeder for 20 years and the author of Parrots: Hand Feeding & Nursery Management. As in many financial ventures, the risks are as high as the potential rewards. Insurance is prohibitively expensive - as high as 10 percent of the value of the birds a breeder normally has on hand. And most breeders don't buy it, despite the risk of catastrophic losses from disease and theft.
    ``You're talking about a pet that can play rough with the family dog, but if you scorch something in a Teflon pan the bird will fall over dead from the fumes,'' said Tim Tegreeny, the owner of Bird Haven, a Fort Lauderdale feed supplier.
    Bird breeding is also hard work, Tegreeny said.
    ``To make good pets the birds have to be hand fed,'' he said. ``Every baby bird is like a newborn. They have to be fed every two hours. It's definitely a profitable business, but it's dirty and messy, too.''
    Despite the risks and labor involved, people are flocking to the exotic bird business. Operations of all sizes and types can be found in Loxahatchee - from stay-at-home moms who have a few cages in the back yard to ranch-size operations complete with incubators, nurseries and worldwide markets.
    Estimates of how many people are in the business vary wildly. Federal licenses are required to import birds, and birds have to pass through quarantine stations approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But breeding is unregulated nationally - with the exception of that involving endangered species, said Lt. Charles Dennis of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission.
    Florida does require a license to breed birds, and breeders are supposed to keep records of where their birds come from and to whom they sell. But many breeders don't abide by the law, Voren says.
    ``It's not because they want to operate outside the law,'' he said. ``It's bird breeders paranoia. They don't want anyone to know they have a million dollars worth of birds sitting on their property.''
    Dennis, who polices western Palm Beach County, said there are 10 to 15 licensed breeders in Loxahatchee. Tegreeny, however, says he has at least 30 customers within a 6-mile radius there.
    Loxahatchee appeals to bird breeders because the climate is perfect for the birds, land is cheap and the bands of bird thieves that plague ranches farther south in Florida and in California haven't become a problem here. Voren estimates the birds raised in Loxahatchee supply 50 percent of the U.S. market.
    That market is growing as more people move into apartments and condominiums where the traditional American pets - cats and dogs - are often prohibited.
    ``They're colorful. You don't have to walk them. And they talk to you!'' Voren said. ``They're also very long-lived. Your pet should easily outlive you.''
    With the market growing and prices rising, smuggling operations have also sprung up to circumvent the 1992 Wild Bird Conservation Act, said Jeffrey Toppel, the owner of Topp Flock Aviary in Loxahatchee.
    Customs agents find birds in everything from luggage to tires, but some get through. Once they're in Florida the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission has only nine inspectors to police all the bird farms in Florida, and it's not enough, Dennis said.
    Schubot, who only buys birds with origins that are documented, agreed and said the government should spend more money to stop illegal trafficking in exotic birds.
    ``Since the ban on importation it's gotten to be almost like prohibition out there,'' Schubot said. ``We're contacted sometimes several times a week by people who want to know if we'd like to buy this bird or that bird - no questions asked.''
    That darker side of the business may have touched the lives of Bhagwan ``Moses'' Lall and his aunt Lilawattie ``Lila'' Buerattan, local breeders believe. Both vanished from their Velazquez Road farm earlier this month, and, before their disappearance was discovered, hundreds of their birds died from lack of food and water. Authorities began investigating June 15.
    Palm Beach County Sheriff's detectives discovered some dead birds inside tool boxes just inside the side door to the house, which was standing open when they arrived.
    ``Something was going on there, and whatever it was got interrupted,'' Voren said. ``That's what the facts suggest, and you can speculate in several directions from there.''
    = Librarian John Jackson and Staff Writer Henry Armijo contributed to this report.

    Caption:
    1. Trent Swigert feeds a 52-day-old Blyth's hornbill at the Avicultural Breeding Research Center in Loxahatchee. If it reaches adulthood, it will be the first successful U.S. breeding of the species.
    2. WHERE THE EXOTIC BIRDS ARE FROM
    SOURCES: Dream Skidmore of Avicultural Breeding and Research Center and Jeffrey Toppel of Topp Flock Aviary
    STAFF GRAPHIC
    PHOTO (B&W) & MAP (B&W)
    Last edited by Starless; 09-07-2008 at 06:55 PM.

  3. #3

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    The Palm Beach Post
    June 20, 1994
    Topics:
    Index Terms:
    PROBE MISSING LOXAHATCHEE

    FAMILY WILL AID SEARCH FOR BIRD BUYER, AUNT

    Author: CAROLYN FRETZ
    Article Text:
    Relatives of a man and woman missing from their Loxahatchee bird farm flew from Guyana to South Florida over the weekend to search for clues to explain the disappearance and to assist detectives working on the case.
    Mahadai Lall, the mother of Bhagwan ``Moses'' Lall and the sister of Lilawattie ``Lila'' Buerattan, told Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office investigators:
    Besides her son and sister, there were two men staying at the ranch - a worker from Guyana and a guest from Africa.
    Her son occasionally had as much as $25,000 in cash at the house.
    Her son telephoned June 4.
    Detectives discovered Moses Lall, 31, and his aunt, Buerattan, 35, missing from their 5-acre Velazquez Road bird breeding farm Wednesday after a delivery man reported that seed he left at the front gate was unused there days later.
    Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission officers were the first to enter the property, and they found more than 400 dead parrots, macaws, toucans and other exotic birds in cages behind the house.
    Investigators are focusing their efforts on finding Buerattan because acquaintances said she should be at the ranch, said Detective Sgt. Ken Deischer.
    ``The reports we're getting on him (Moses Lall) are that he was supposed to be out of the country,'' Deischer said. ``So we're not really sure he's missing.''
    Bird experts said the retail value of the dead birds is about $500,000, but, since the deserted farm was discovered, more birds have died - pushing the loss figure even higher.
    Mahadai Lall stressed that her son would never willingly abandon his investment, and her sister would never leave the birds she loved.
    The two men who were staying at the ranch are also missing, Mahadai Lall said. The ranch hand from Guyana is Daljeet ``Harry'' Gobin. He is in his mid-40s, Lall estimated.
    She doesn't know the name of the guest her son met while he was on a bird-buying trip in Africa. That man, thought to be in his mid-30s, has called Lall's Deerfield Beach veterinarian twice this month to ask for news about Moses Lall, the doctor said.
    Lall took cash when he went on bird-buying trips, and he was planning to travel this month, his mother said.

    Caption:
    1. Bhagwan "Moses" Lall (mug)
    2. Lilawattie "Lila" Buerattan (mug)
    PHOTO (2 b&w)
    Last edited by Starless; 09-07-2008 at 06:56 PM.

  4. #4

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    The Palm Beach Post
    May 17, 1996
    Topics:
    Index Terms:
    Brief
    BRIEFLY



    Article Text:
    Palm Beach County can keep $170,000 from auctioning exotic birds in 1994, an appeals panel has ruled. The county had seized the 347 birds from a Loxahatchee ranch in 1994 after the disappearance of the ranch owner, Bhagwan "Moses" Lall and his aunt, Lilawattie "Lila" Buerattan. Mahadai Lall, Moses Lall's mother, challenged a 1995 county court decision awarding the auction money to the county, but a panel of three circuit judges upheld the lower court ruling this month.
    JUPITER - Twenty-two police officers and civilians were honored at the annual police awards ceremony Wednesday night at town hall. Awards went to: Detectives Dominick Barbanera and Scott Pascarella and officers Pamela Winegard and Bruce St. Laurent, chief's letters of commendation; David Rawls, Jeffrey Rich, Larry Newcomb, Matthew Humphrey, William Turner, David Baker, citizen meritorious citations; Sgt. Gerald Stickl and communications officer Lynn Gordey, meritorious citation; Barbanera, Sgt. Samuel Miller, officers Peter Conyette, Clyde Fisher, Brian Chabot, John MacVeigh, Peter Conyette, Clifford Curtis and citizens Susan Fisher and Lya O'Brien, lifesaving awards; and John Urban, citizen letter of appreciation. A portrait was also unve iled in honor of Maj. Edward K. Humphrey, who died in the line of duty in September 1995.
    Last edited by Starless; 09-07-2008 at 06:56 PM.

  5. #5

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    The Palm Beach Post
    July 19, 1994

    Topics:
    Index Terms:
    MISSING LOXAHATCHEE PROBE

    MISSING RANCH WORKER SPOTTED

    Author: CAROLYN FRETZ
    Article Text:
    A ranch hand who worked at a bird farm where hundreds of parrots were found dead or dying was in New York last month trying to sell exotic birds for about a third of what they're worth, investigators said Monday.
    Roland Eyoum, a native of Africa who was staying at Bhagwan ``Moses'' Lall's 5-acre bird farm on Velazquez Road in Loxahatchee, was in New York on June 9 with several exotic birds, said Howard Voren, a Loxahatchee bird breeder.
    Eyoum has been missing since authorities began investigating Lall's disappearance.
    Also Monday, investigators said they are not sure if a man stopped in Georgia and charged with driving with a suspended license was Lall, even though the man was carrying Lall's identification and booked under Lall's name.
    Georgia authorities have sent the man's photograph and fingerprints to investigators here so detectives can determine if it is Lall.
    The man stopped in Georgia June 7 was 5-feet-7 and dark skinned, said Richmond Hill Police Chief Billy Reynolds.
    Lall is 5-feet-8 and light skinned.
    Lall, 31, and his aunt Lilawattie ``Lila'' Buerattan, 35, have been listed as missing since mid-June, when neighbors called police to say the farm looked deserted.
    When officers went onto the property, they found more than 400 dead birds worth more than $500,000 and more than 300 critically ill from lack of food and water.
    Shortly after Lall was last seen, Eyoum contacted an exotic animal broker in New York and offered to sell the birds for about a third of their market value.
    She called Voren to see if he would buy the birds.
    ``The story I got was that he (Eyoum) had been involved with Moses in a reptile deal that went bad,'' Voren said.
    ``Moses owed him some money and paid him off in birds.''
    Voren called Palm Beach County investigators and they have been trying to reach Eyoum in New York, Detective Sgt. Ken Deischer said.
    Lall's mother said she spoke to her son from their native Guyana June 4.
    After the man booked as Lall made bond in Georgia, he fled, leaving behind a van filled with parrots and turtles.
    He never returned for a court hearing scheduled for July 11.

    Caption:
    1. Bhagwan "Moses" Lall (mug)
    2. Lilawattie "Lila" Buerattan (mug)
    PHOTO (2 b&w)
    Last edited by Starless; 09-07-2008 at 06:57 PM.

  6. #6

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    Miami Herald, The (FL)
    June 24, 1994

    ABANDONED BIRDS MAY MOVE SOUTH

    Author: LORI ROZSA Herald Staff Writer



    Article Text:
    The exotic birds that survived two weeks of being left unattended may find a new home in Homestead, Palm Beach County Animal Care officials said Thursday.
    The mother of the man who owns the birds is negotiating with the county to moved the 345 delicate animals to the Blue Ribbon Pet Farm in southern Dade County.
    Her son, Bhagwan "Moses" Lall, and her sister, Lila Buerattan, are missing. Investigators are still searching for clues to their disappearance.
    The pair kept more than 700 expensive, exotic birds at their Loxahatchee home. They haven't been heard from since June 4. State game officers found more than half the birds dead from dehydration and starvation last week. The rest were taken to the county's animal pound.
    Before Mahadi Lall can take custody of her son's birds, she first must put up a $250,000 bond and also prove that she has a right to the birds, Animal Care officer Lt. Gina DiPace said.
    Lall is being charged $3,450 a day -- $10 for each of the surviving birds -- for the upkeep of the brightly feathered macaws, parrots and other birds. When all were living, they were worth more than $500,000.
    The $10 charge is the standard fee the county charges to owners of any animals they house.
    "It's up in the air right now," DiPace said about the bird transfer. "They were originally given until 5 o'clock Friday to move the birds out of here."
    David George, Mahadi Lall's attorney, declined to discuss his negotiations with the county.
    "Mrs. Lall wants to make sure her son and sister are OK first. That's her number one priority," George said. "She also wants to make sure that when her son turns up, he has something to come back to."
    George said Lall and Buerattan took "impeccable care" of their birds. State game officers who investigated Lall and his birds when he lived in Broward County three years ago found nothing wrong.
    The Blue Ribbon Pet Farm in Homestead has been owned for 45 years by John Marolf, who has bought birds from Lall before. Marolf has about 1,000 exotic birds at the farm. Most of his cages were blown away in Hurricane Andrew. His birds survived, though, because he took them inside his house.
    Marolf said Mahadi Lall, who lives in Guyana, is well known to exotic bird breeders. He offered her five acres to keep the birds on. Marolf said he has a security system to protect the birds from theft.
    "I sent word that I was ready, willing and able to help her," Marolf said Thursday. "But I don't know if the county will give the birds to her."
    Meanwhile, volunteers who have helped nurse the birds back to health say they'd like to buy them.
    "I don't know if we could raise the money, though," said Bob Johnson of the Life Awareness animal rescue group. "Those birds sold in one lot would probably bring $100,000 to $150,000."
    Last edited by Starless; 09-07-2008 at 06:58 PM.

  7. #7

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    The Palm Beach Post
    June 18, 1994
    Topics:
    Index Terms:
    ANIMAL TELEPHONE DEATH BUSINESS INDUSTRY

    DEATHS AT BIRD FARM SHROUDED IN MYSTERY

    Author: JENNY STALETOVICH Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

    Dateline: LOXAHATCHEE
    Article Text:
    The disappearance of a man and his aunt from a rural bird farm where investigators discovered hundreds of dead parrots this week and a shallow grave remained a mystery Friday.
    Investigators, who rushed to obtain a search warrant and unearth the grave, succeeded late Friday only to discover a dead black dog.
    ``We just don't know what's taken place here,'' said Palm Beach County sheriff's spokesman Bob Ferrell. ``We're back to square one.''
    Moses Lall, also known as Bhagwanlall, 31, and his aunt, Lila Buerattan, 35, were last seen at the house on Velazquez Road on May 29 when another bird dealer visited to discuss buying birds, said sheriff's Lt. John Kianka. Three days later the man spoke to Lall on the phone, who mentioned leaving for Africa in several days.
    Even if Lall left, neighbors and friends said his aunt would have remained behind to care for the birds. The death of so many birds baffled them.
    Lall, a native of Guyana, raised parrots in Broward County before moving to Loxahatchee in December 1992. He was licensed to import birds to the United States from Guyana but not to breed them, officials said. Lall traveled often in search of birds and spent time at another home in Garden City, N.Y., said Luis Morales, who was in the process of selling the house to Buerattan for $250,000.
    For four months in 1993, Morales and his family occupied a guest house on the property while Lall and his aunt lived in the main house.
    ``She didn't let us in. She don't let nobody in,'' Morales said of the reclusive pair. ``They said please stay away from the (the birds) because they get nervous.''
    Sheriff's deputies were called to the house on Wednesday when a delivery man climbed a fence and found feed delivered days earlier still unopened. When they arrived, deputies found about 400 dead birds in cages throughout the house and in cages lining the west side of the property. Starved baby parrots filled aquariums in the house, said Lt. John Kianka.
    Bob Johnson, a breeder and founder of a nonprofit animal care group, arrived Thursday to help with the birds and was sickened by what he saw.
    ``The quality of food they were getting was very bad. It's like you trying to live on a diet of sunflower seeds,'' he said. ``They wouldn't have lived five years and these birds should live to be 100 years old.''
    Johnson said several dead birds were found wrapped in towels in small sealed boxes and a tool box. He suspected the birds may have died after they were drugged to slow their metabolism, stuffed into the boxes and smuggled into the country. The birds sell to pet stores for about $800 and then are resold by the stores for up to $2,000, he said.
    ``They can make as much money smuggling birds as dope, but if you get caught smuggling birds, it's a $500 fine,'' he said. ''If you get caught smuggling dope, they take your house.''
    About 350 birds have survived and are being cared for at Palm County Animal Care and Control on Belvedere Road.
    Meanwhile, detectives continue to search for Lall, his aunt and a white 1992 Plymouth Voyager van missing from the property and registered to Lall. Anyone with information should contact Detective Glen Wescott at 688-4157.
    Last edited by Starless; 09-07-2008 at 06:58 PM.

  8. #8

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    Miami Herald, The (FL)
    September 2, 1994

    RESCUED BIRDS UP FOR BIDS EXOTICS' OWNERS ARE STILL MISSING

    Author: LORI ROZSA Herald Staff Writer Article Text:
    Bird lovers get ready: 332 finely feathered exotics will be auctioned off Sept. 10 at the Palm Beach County pound.
    The birds were taken from the home of two Loxahatchee bird breeders who disappeared mysteriously in June. Moses Lall and his aunt, Lila Buerattan, are still missing and probably dead, investigators say. Detectives are searching for two caretakers who lived in a guest house on the property.

    Their disappearance left more than 700 exotic birds and a handful of other animals without food and water for two weeks. By the time they were found, more than half the birds had died.
    Dennis Moore, director of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, said Thursday that prospective bidders can show up at 8 a.m. to examine the birds and put down a $100 deposit.
    The auction will begin at 10 a.m.
    The birds will be sold separately, and buyers will also be charged $20 for each bird cage.
    No minimum bids will be set.
    Moore hopes to bring in enough money to cover the costs of caring for the birds, which his staff says is more than $200,000.
    "The auction will go nonstop until we've sold every bird, every tortoise, and a few large animals we've thrown in," Moore said.
    The tortoises were found at Lall and Buerattan's home with the birds. The other animals -- including two potbellied pigs -- were found in other neighborhoods and were scheduled to be auctioned off soon.
    The auction will be behind the animal control offices, where the birds are being kept.
    The address is 7100 Belevedere Rd., West Palm Beach. The phone number is 233-1200.
    Last edited by Starless; 09-07-2008 at 06:59 PM.

  9. #9

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    The Palm Beach Post
    September 13, 1994

    Topics:
    Index Terms:
    ANIMAL AGENCY SALE DISEASE HEALTH
    BIRD BOUGHT AT AUCTION HAS DISEASE

    Author: CAROLYN FRETZ
    Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

    Article Text:
    A green-wing macaw bought by a Lake Worth man at Saturday's county auction of 335 exotic birds was diagnosed Monday with a highly contagious, and sometimes fatal, disease.
    Ray Horton didn't put his new bird in with the 11 healthy birds he has at home, but he wonders how many other buyers at the auction were so careful.
    Horton also would like to get back the $675 he paid for the bird.
    But the director of Palm Beach County's Animal Care & Control Division, Dennis Moore, said his agency bent over backward to tell buyers at the auction to beware.
    The birds that were auctioned were found nearly dead of dehydration and starvation at a deserted bird ranch in Loxahatchee in June. More than 400 other birds, worth about $500,000, died at the ranch. No trace of their owners, Bhagwan ``Moses'' Lall and his aunt Lilawattie ``Lila'' Buerattan has been found, and sheriff's detectives are investigating their disappearance as homicides.
    Lall and his aunt were natives of Guyana, and many of the birds on their ranch were imported from there.
    Papilloma, the nonmalignant cancer Dr. Greg Harrison found in Horton's macaw, is common in birds from Guyana, local breeders and veterinarians said.
    The disease is especially contagious among macaws, 278 of which were sold at the auction, and parrots, which also were sold at the auction.
    The good news for those people is that the disease, thought to be caused by a virus, occasionally is not transmitted - even between a breeding pair.
    ``And it's not contagious to people,'' Harrison said.

    Caption:
    SHERMAN ZENT/Staff Photographer
    Ray Horton paid about $800 for this green-wing macaw, its cage and taxes at a county auction Saturday. He found out from a veterinarian Monday that the bird has a highly contagious disease.
    PHOTO (C)
    Last edited by Starless; 09-07-2008 at 07:00 PM.

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