Tests show high mold counts in Aurora bird hoarder’s home
By Stephanie Lulay email@example.com October 23, 2012 5:34PM
Updated: November 25, 2012 11:39AM
AURORA — Air quality tests taken from the home of an Aurora bird hoarder confirmed the home is not suitable for habitation, with mold counts ranging from twice to 15 times higher than normal outdoor readings.
City officials have called a press conference for 10 a.m. Wednesday to address the bird hoarding incident.
The city will not begin to remove the hundreds of birds in the far East Side townhome until Friday.
After first entering the home in the 200 block of Shadybrook Lane last week, the city deemed the property unfit for habitation and has been working with a contractor who specializes in these types of clean-ups.
City staff reached out to the adjoining townhome neighbors on both sides of the Shadybrook Lane property to conduct similar air quality tests Tuesday morning. Results are expected back Wednesday.
Initial inspection of the property indicated there may be up to 300 birds throughout the two-story structure that includes a basement, Deputy Fire Chief John Lehman said Tuesday. An exact count is not known because of the large amounts of garbage, debris, piles of bird seed and bird feces that cover all walkable surfaces in the home, he said.
The homeowner, 57-year-old Dave Skeberdis, has estimated about 200 birds — including parakeets, cockatiels, finches and canaries — were in the home, but he did not know how many dead birds there might be.
The contractor plans to enter the property Wednesday to rearrange the debris inside the home to create clear walking paths on all floors and stairways. The city anticipates this process will take up to two days. The city plans to start removing the birds from the home Friday.
Aurora Animal Control has made arrangements with a veterinarian to assess the health of the birds and volunteers from the Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club to help in the effort.
The homeowner has been cooperative with Animal Control and inspections officials, Lehman said. Any code violations or charges will not be initiated until the animals have been removed from the home and the investigation can move forward.