EL MIRAGE, AZ — Neighbors describe it as a zoo, but there was only one kind of animal living and breeding inside the walls of a small El Mirage home.
"The total count is over 600 now," said Jody Kieran, the owner of Fallen Feathers Sanctuary. "They thought they were doing a good thing, and then they got out of hand."
Kieran was one of the dozens who spent more than four hours capturing free-roaming lovebirds flying around inside the house.
El Mirage police served a warrant at the house Thursday night to capture the birds living inside.
Officers and Sanctuary employees were forced to wear hazmat suits.
"That's how bad it was," Kieran said.
She says moldy bread covered the floors, along with layers of birdseed and feces caked on top.
"It was not a healthy condition for birds or for people," Kieran said.
Kieran says she's still evaluating each bird, and checking for issues like Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), among other viruses that can spread among birds and people.
"These are birds that are trying to survive in what they think would be the outside world," Kieran said. "And they're stuck between these walls, and they only can survive on what you give them. The food, water and conditions were not adequate by any means."
El Mirage police say they have not submitted charges against the homeowner yet.
Officials say they're waiting for the birds' test results to determine which charges to file.
This story was originally published by Nicole Valdes on KNXV in Phoenix.