REPORT #2

22 Canada Geese found maimed
Loomis, CA (US)

Incident Date: Thursday, Apr 28, 2005
County: Placer

Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 1 files available

Defendants/Suspects:
» Silvia Bujdei – Not Charged
» Titus Bujdei

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

An investigation is continuing into the discovery of 22 mutilated and malnourished Canada geese confiscated from a Loomis property on Tuesday.

California Department of Fish and Game agents and Gold County Wildlife Rescue volunteers captured the birds at the Lakeside Villa senior living facility, which is operated by Titus and Silvia Bujdei.

The game wardens reported that all of the geese were injured. Most had the tips of their wings amputated, and one had a laceration in its beak. The geese were taken to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield for examination and care. One bird had to be euthanized because of a broken wing.

Bird rescue personnel said the injuries were likely painful. “If this were a human, it would be her hand from the wrist down [cut off],” said rescue worker Michelle Bellizzi.

Some of the geese on the property that were apparently uninjured were able to fly away when wardens and volunteers released them from captivity.

Several months ago, neighbors reported that the birds were being trapped and their wings clipped. Investigators videotaped Titus Bujdei baiting a wood-framed, chicken-wire cage with bread and waiting nearby. When geese took the bait, a door on the cage snapped close, trapping the birds.

Wardens noted both domestic geese and Canada geese on the grounds of the facility as well as in an adjacent pond. The Bujdeis had erected a plywood fence around their property.

Wardens also found a blood-scarred tree trunk and hatchet that they believe was used to behead the geese. Neighbors claimed the geese were fed to the elderly care home residents, but wardens found no direct evidence of that.

The Bujdeis said they didn’t kill geese and had never eaten them. Silvia Bujdei said they bought the geese for $50 each two years ago at a Marysville auction. Her husband said the cage was used to trap ducks, not geese. He also said the geese were on the property because the older residents liked to watch them.

The Bujdeis were not cited or arrested Tuesday. However, officials indicated the couple might be charged with unlawful possession of a protected species and animal cruelty.

Canada geese are large waterfowl noted for their distinctive long black heads and necks, which feature a distinctive white chin understrap. The birds can be up to four feet long with a wingspan of 50 to 68 inches. The breast and belly are nearly white while the back, upper wings and flank are dark brown.

Canada geese mate for life. One volunteer biologist particpating in Tuesday’s rescue said he was saddened to see the separation of so many mates.

Nineteen of the recovered geese, none of which will fly again, will be taken to a Jamestown sanctuary. Two of the birds will stay at the rescue center for continued treatment.

Case Updates

A man accused of maiming geese at his Placer County adult care facility will likely avoid jail time. Titus Bujdei pleaded no contest to one felony count of animal cruelty Wednesday, and the other charges were dropped.In April, Bujdei was accused of trapping and mutilating geese at his Lakeside Villa facility in Loomis. There were also claims that Bujdei and his wife then fed the geese to residents. That claim proved to be false, according to authorities.

“That’s not true. There’s absolutely no evidence that that ever happened. It was another false allegation by the neighbor,” said defense attorney Greg Elvine-Kries.

Bujdei will be back in court on Oct. 17. He’ll likely avoid jail time, instead facing up to a $20,000 fine and community service.

The state is looking into whether to revoke the facility’s home care license.

Source: KCRA – Aug 24, 2005
Update posted on Aug 24, 2005 – 9:26PM
A Loomis adult care facility owner faces 22 felony animal cruelty charges – one for each of the Canada geese he is accused of trapping and mutilating on his property.Titus Bujdei, the owner of the Lakeside Villa facility, faces a maximum 17 years in prison if convicted of all counts. He will be arraigned June 13 in a Placer County courtroom.

Bujdei is also charged with Department of Fish and Game code violations, including hunting without a license, unlawful possession and unlawful take with a trap.

The federally protected birds were seized from his residential care facility in April after a neighbor told fish and game wardens that Bujdei was trapping the wild birds and mutilating their wings to keep them from flying away. The neighbor also said he killed the birds and used them, and their eggs, as a food source for residents.

Following the confiscation, the geese were taken to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia, where one had to be immediately euthanized. The other birds have since been taken to a bird sanctuary in Jamestown, but will never fly again.

Deputy District Attorney Debra Oldziewski, who is filing the charges, said she was still waiting for results from forensic evidence sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Forensics Center in Ashland, Ore. and matched against Canada goose DNA.

Bujdei has denied the allegations, saying he purchased the geese at auction and uses the alleged trap to collect the ducks he sells.

Bujdei’s attorney, Greg Elvine-Kreis, said he is a law-abiding citizen since he came to the U.S. from Romania, and has operated the care facility since 1998 with no complaints.

Elvine-Kreis said Bujdei did not do some of the things being alleged against him.

“Frankly, this has been sensationalized by the Department of Fish and Game,” he said. “The geese coupled with the residence made this story grow beyond what I think it should have, and I will be addressing this in court.”

Source: Auburn Journal – June 5, 2005
Update posted on Jun 12, 2005 – 1:18AM

References

  • KXTV – April 28, 2005
  • KCRA – June 6, 2005
  • KCRA – April 27, 2005

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Read more: Pet-Abuse.Com – Animal Abuse Case Details: 22 Canada Geese found maimed – Loomis, CA (US) http://www.pet-abuse.com/cases/4471/CA/US/#ixzz1B2uqNsrx