Charlie the cockatoo caged for three months by Heathrow Border Force over missing paperwork
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Charlie, a cockatoo, has been stuck at Heathrow for months due to a paperwork issue, according to his owner Jess Adlard. The 33-year-old has issued a desperate plea to bring him home, after he was meant to join Jess in the UK last August having moved from Pennsylvania, USA, in November 2022.
However, Charlie, 4, was detained at Heathrow because of a missing form upon landing, now three months later he's still not home, leaving Jess worried as she's spent £6,000 on his transit. Jess said: "I suffer from anxiety and depression and Charlie really alleviates that.
Jess adds that Charlie has been showing signs of distress like banging his head against the cage and plucking his feathers and said she was growing increasingly concerned for the bird's well-being as "he has been plucking his feathers and asking if he is a good boy".
Jess's husband Joe, 36, who works as a customs clearance agent, flew to the US to bring Charlie to the UK but once they landed, the bird was held due to a missing document. Jess said: "They said the original export permit was missing - but it was with Charlie when he left the airport in the States. We have sent picture copies over to them but they say they need to see the original but it was with Charlie. We haven't heard anything from them since September."
Jess, who bought the rose-breasted cockatoo in December 2019, described him as "a cheeky chap" and is now begging officials to let him go as she hasn't been able to see or speak to Charlie since he arrived in the UK.
She revealed staff at the private animal facility have been playing the movie Rio - about a talking bird - on a tablet to soothe him but all she wants is for him to be back home. Jess said: "He is so cheeky and intelligent, he is funny and likes to dance. If he ever does anything naughty and gets caught he will immediately say 'I love you'.
"It's hard to express how I feel when I think about Charlie coming home. It feels like Christmas and your birthday. I get teary just thinking about it. We want Charlie home. We have a lovely home waiting for him. If there's an issue we need to fix, why hasn't anyone contacted us?"
The Home Office stated: "Wildlife entering the UK through the border is governed by strict domestic and international law. Where required documentation isn't presented, Border Force can seize pets. 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."
Jess and Joe have set up a GoFundMe to help cover their costs.