What could have been a legitimate case of animal cruelty has turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.
Shaun, from the inner southeastern Perth suburb of Burswood, returned home the other day to find a notice on his door from the RSPCAWA.
It asked him to call officers over a report of animal cruelty on his property.
“I got a little yappy dog and I thought, ‘Oh no, might be time for the dog to go, the neighbours have complained’,” Shaun told 6PR Breakfast on Thursday.
However, it turned out the report was the subject of hilarity in the RSPCAWA office and had “made their week.”
It turns out a concerned passer-by had noticed a “bird” in a cage hanging in a tree at Shaun’s home.
They were worried the “cockatoo” had no access to water and was left in the sun as Perth sweltered through temperatures peaking in the mid-to-high 30Cs in the closing days of summer.
But RSPCAWA investigators arrived at Shaun’s house to find the “animal” was, in fact, made of metal.
Shaun was ready to defend his dog from an errant report to the RSPCA, but the actual source of the complaint gave all involved a few laughs.
Shaun had purchased the metallic cockatoo statue from a Bunnings Warehouse hardware store to put inside the cage he had hung up in a tree as an ornament about a year ago.
Because a complaint had been made, the investigators still needed to go through all the paperwork to close out the case and report that they’d been duped by a dummy bird.
“Even the girl from RSPCA said ‘you made my day’,” Shaun told 6PR.
Shaun made a social media post poking fun at the matter, complete with images of the “cockatoo” to confirm its metallic nature.
“Thank you to the ‘Karen’ who made a complaint to the RSPCA about us leaving our cockatoo in a cage in our front garden without water on a hot day!” wrote Shaun, using the slang term ‘Karen’ to describe the person who dobbed him in.
A BBC article by Ashitha Nagesh in July 2020 defines a “Karen’ as “a specific type of middle-class white woman who exhibits behaviours that stem from privilege” or, in Shaun’s context, a nosy neighbourhood snoop with nothing better to do.
For comparison, here’s a real cockatoo. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Joel Carrett
“Obviously, the lack of movement of the bird, the cage being open and rust on the metal creature were not enough signs it wasn’t real!” wrote Shaun.
However, he did note the incident made his day and apologised to his friends named Karen.
Perth satirist publication The Bell Tower Times shared Shaun’s post on its Facebook page, on which RSPCAWA commented.
“We would always rather receive a report and have it turn out to be a false alarm than not receive one at all and have an animal suffer,” the organisation wrote.
“These cases of mistaken identity are very few and far between and TBH, considering the amount of heartbreaking things we do see, offer a bit of light relief.”
Bunnings no longer sells the metal cockatoo Shaun owns, but you can pick up a metal solar-powered cockatoo garden light for $20.
The same tin cockatoo ornament doesn’t appear to be sold at Bunnings anymore.
However, for $20 you can get a similar Arlec 29.5cm cockatoo metal solar garden light.
Fingers crossed the light emitting from it makes people think twice before reporting it to authorities.