When you step inside Pet’s Palace it’s easy to fall in love.
Owner Jay Hockersmith knows the feeling all too well. He started working at the shop in 1969 and purchased the business in 1979.
More than 40 years later, Hockersmith discovered than more than 50 of his beloved love birds had been taken from his shop Friday, Jan. 24.
“You feel so violated you you worry so much about the animals that have been taken,” said Hockersmith. “We were very concerned that the thieves might come back and visit us again.”
Just three days later, as Pet’s Palace prepared to add extra security to its property, the thieves struck again.
“Too little too late. The second loss of birds had already happened. Of course you’re just heart broken, you’re upset, you’re mad, you’re angry,” Hockersmith said.
A total of more than 150 love birds stolen. With no trace of where they may be.
It’s another heartache added to Hockersmith’s long list because this isn’t the first time someone broke into their shop and took animals.
“All of our puppies we’re stolen, we’ve had a lot of other birds stolen, we used to have a flock of peacocks, they got taken from our barnyard, in the spring we had a little miniature pig stolen, we did get him back,” Hockersmith said.
But these two burglaries, just days apart, hit home the hardest because it was their biggest loss.
They are given their name for a reason. Hockersmith says they’re a very gregarious little bird they like the company of other lovebirds, so he expects the thief to be an expert.
“This was an unusual variety of love birds, they are absolutely blue. Very beautiful birds,” said Hockersmith. “In many ways this is just simply an irreplaceable loss.”
While the Pet Palace still serves as a love nest for other animals, he hopes this flock returns home.
We are now two weeks away from Valentines Day so we asked Hockersmith if there is any connection and he says he doesn’t think so.
He feels it’s simply for monetary reasons because one goes for $199 and a pair for $299.
If you have any information as to where these birds are or who might have taken them, you are asked to contact LMPD.
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