08/04/2015 10:06 EDT | Updated 08/04/2016 05:59 EDT

SPCA seizes 550 exotic birds in Montreal

The Montreal SPCA has seized more than 550 exotic birds, including parrots, cockatoos and finches, from a pet store and breeding facility.

Alanna Devine, director of animal advocacy, said the organization seized the animals under the Criminal Code last Thursday, after an investigation found they were lacking adequate access to water and food. Some of the birds even died, she said.

Devine said the birds were caught in the wild in other countries and imported into Canada. 

"The birds are in the custody of the SPCA and are receiving the attention they require, but they still belong to the owner and we're in the process of building our file," Devine said.

The SPCA hopes the case raises awareness about the need to have stronger provincial laws protecting exotic animals.

"Cases such as this one demonstrate that birds, and many other species of exotic animals that are regularly bought and sold in this province, and who have complex physiological and behavioural needs, require basic protection under our provincial animal welfare legislation," Devine said.

She said the SPCA will push the Quebec government to amend the proposed Bill 54 to include provisions to protect animals such as exotic birds, as well as captive wildlife in zoos or breeding facilities.