As the USDA has begun to enforce the new bird-related portions of the Animal Welfare Act, parrot rescues, sanctuaries, breeders, and even owners may be expecting a visit from USDA inspectors. Unfortunately, this has also given bad actors a new way to take advantage of people in the parrot community. Fraudulent “inspectors” and even fake “veterinarians” have gained access to rescue and breeding facilities under false pretenses.

Things to keep in mind to preserve your safety:


USDA inspectors should attempt to contact you or a designated facility representative before arriving.

In this case, a “facility representative” is a person who can do the inspection without you, like a spouse or family member, neighbor, employee, or other business contact. USDA inspectors will not enter any building without a responsible adult present. Nor should they approach your door without contacting you first.

Inspectors should always have their official government ID, and you are welcome to ask for it to verify they are representative(s) of USDA.

This is extremely important to remember. If the inspector doesn’t immediately offer identification, it is your right and responsibility to ask for it. Anyone who tells you that you aren’t allowed to ask should be barred from the property until their identity can be determined by contacting the USDA and/or local law enforcement.

Veterinarians who show up at your home, bird rescue, or breeding facility without notice and without being called are suspect.

If someone shows up and identifies themselves as a veterinarian from the USDA but not as an inspector, you should use caution and prevent them from entering the premises until their identity is verified. The USDA only sends designated1 inspectors to confirm compliance with the AWA.

These same cautions apply to local and state animal control officers. They should always supply identification on request.

Be cautious about who you allow to access your home, rescue, or other bird care facility. You have the right to verify the identity of law enforcement and government compliance agents who seek entry to your property. If they’re truly there on official business, they should have no problem providing proper documentation.

If you have any questions or concerns about the identity of someone claiming to be an animal control officer, USDA inspector, or veterinary representative of the USDA, contact your local law enforcement (city or state police, sheriff’s department, military police for those living on military property, etc). While it is necessary to comply with an actual, legal USDA inspection, protecting yourself, your birds, your staff, and/or your family should be a priority.


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