MONTREAL – Moko the crow won’t be flying the coop any time soon — at least according to the bird’s owner, who says a Quebec judge has given him permission to keep his pet.
Simon Perusse says he went to court to argue against a $650 fine levied against him by the province’s Wildlife Department for keeping a wild animal in captivity without a permit.
Perusse said he took steps to get a permit in 2015 after a landlord complained about the bird, but was instead fined and informed that his precious feathered friend would be seized if the fine was upheld.
“I was told I could plead guilty and they would take Moko and I’d pay $650 and they’d euthanize him, or I could wait for the court’s judgment,” the 51-year-old Quebec City man said in a telephone interview.
The province requires a permit to keep wild animals in captivity, and they generally aren’t allowed as pets.
But Perusse said a judge’s ruling Thursday allows him to keep the bird he nursed back to health after it fell out of a nest and broke a wing at two weeks old.
He said the judge recognized Moko couldn’t fly or survive in the wild and noted the magistrate also pointed out there are no permits available for crows.
“They were blaming me for not getting a permit that didn’t exist,” he said.
He says his bird, who he believes is a male, is an affectionate pet who often sits on his shoulder as he works as a guide on a traditional Huron site.
“Crows are very intelligent, very interactive” he said. “When I dance to music while cleaning the house he dances on his perch. I’ve had a lot of pets and this is one of the best I’ve had.”
Perusse, who is Metis, says helping wildlife is part of traditional First Nations culture.
A government spokesman could not immediately respond to a request for comment.