A $1,000 reward is being offered for an East L.A. woman's beloved exotic bird named Mickey.
Mickey, a 28-year-old miligold macaw with green and blue feathers with yellow accents, was snatched from his cage Thursday morning despite owner Maria Chavez's desperate efforts to save him.
Chavez, 55, looked on in horror as a man jumped her backyard fence in the 4800 block of Michigan Avenue about 10:30 a.m. and took Mickey out of his cage. Chavez grabbed a stick and started hitting the man. Mickey even bit him, but the man held on and got into a waiting car and escaped, Chavez told The Times.
The bird is more than just a pet, he's family, Chavez said. She first met Mickey 28 years ago when she was a housekeeper and her former employer brought the macaw home. The bird was only a couple months old and didn't have all its feathers yet, Chavez said.
Then about 10 years ago, Chavez got cancer. Mickey went to live with Chavez's former boss, who came to her bedside one day and told her Mickey was acting strange, and he didn't know why. So her former boss brought Mickey to Chavez to see if she could help.
"He put Mickey on the bed, and Mickey is right away walking to my shoulder, tries to give me kisses and clean my hair," Chavez said.
She said her boss saw right away that Mickey was most happy with Chavez and gave the bird to her that same day. Her cancer went into remission a couple years later.
Since that bedside visit, Mickey has become part of Chavez's animal family. She also has a Chihuahua and a pit bull, which apparently likes to run around the house with the bird.
"They chase each other inside, they go around the table and under the chairs," Chavez said.
Mickey's favorite movies are "Transformers," "How to Train Your Dragon," and of course, "Congo."
"If you go between him and the TV, he's so mad, he starts cawing like 'Hey, get out of my way!'" Chavez said.
When Chavez's former boss heard Mickey had been stolen, he offered the $1,000 for a reward.
"I'm not going to ask any questions," Chavez said. "Only bring him back."
The thefts came within days of a similar crime in Long Beach, where a man hopped a fence and stole five exotic birds.