While dogs have been used for protection for thousands of years, parrots are a new twist. “Run, run, you are going to get caught,” cried Lorenzo the parrot as the police arrived. Lorenzo was one of 1,700 parrots trained to warn their drug-dealing owners in Barranquilla, Colombia. Lorenzo’s warnings weren’t enough to stop the police from arresting four men and seizing 200 guns, a stolen motorcycle and a large amount of drugs.
While Lorenzo was on the wrong side of the law, a parrot in South Carolina was the hero in the case of one woman, named Gloria, who abused her elderly mother. One day in 2010, Gloria called an ambulance after her 98-year-old mother was having trouble breathing. The paramedics arrived at the filthy house that smelled of rotting flesh and animal feces. They found the elderly woman in pain and covered in bedsores. The police arrived soon after and discovered the family parrot repeating “help me, help me” followed by maniacal laughter. The police believed that the parrot was echoing the mother’s cries for help, and her cold-hearted daughter’s laughter. The mother died the next day, and Gloria was arrested.
Blackie the cat wasn’t owned by drug dealers or abusive criminals, but his ability to talk did get his owner in trouble. When Blackie was just a kitten, Blackie’s owner Carl says a voice popped into his head that said, “The cat is trying to talk to you.” Carl spent a year and a half teaching Blackie to talk. Blackie learned to say, “I love you” and “I want my mommy.” Blackie became famous around town and people on the street would pay Carl to hear Blackie speak. Blackie’s fame grew, and he even appeared on TV and the radio. Things took a turn for the worse when Miles took his talking cat show to Georgia. The police charged Carl and his wife with running a business without a license. Carl argued that this was an infringement on Blackie’s freedom of speech. The United Nations and the United States both have laws protecting freedom of speech, but the judge wasn’t having it. He said that Blackie was not a “person” and even if he was a person, Miles shouldn’t be arguing for Blackie’s freedom of speech. “Blackie can clearly speak for himself,” said the judge.