Special Reports

Parrot farm operator calls report incorrect

Bob Vincent said Tuesday that he “categorically denies” charges of animal mistreatment leveled against him and his girlfriend, Martha Scudder, in a special report on their parrot-breeding operation published Sunday in The News Tribune.

Vincent, who declined requests for interviews before the report ran, said large parts of the account were incorrect.

He also questioned the veracity and motives of some of the story’s sources, including Seattle veterinarian Tracy Bennett and Larry Gallawa, a Redmond engineer who has worked to close down Parrot Depot.

In an interview Tuesday outside Scudder’s Parrot Depot, Vincent declined to say specifically what was incorrect in the report but said he and Scudder provide humane care for their parrots.

“I don’t believe any animal should be harmed,” Vincent said.

Citing the advice of his attorney, Vincent declined to show his farm to a News Tribune reporter and photographer Tuesday. He said he might open the facility for inspection by the newspaper when a defamation suit he and Scudder filed against Gallawa has run its course or when his attorney, Jack Maichel of Puyallup, says it’s OK.

Vincent and Scudder sued Gallawa last year after he took his battle against Parrot Depot to the Internet, trying to raise awareness about conditions at Parrot Depot. A judge dismissed the suit, but Scudder and Vincent have appealed.

Vincent contended Tuesday that comments Bennett made to the newspaper about dirty conditions at Parrot Depot were different than those she gave in a sworn deposition in his lawsuit against Gallawa. She did not mention poor conditions at the farm in the deposition, he said.

Bennett said Tuesday that she doesn’t recall Scudder’s attorney ever asking her about conditions at the farm. The attorney spent most of his time asking her about her credentials and her practice, she said. Bennett said she stood by the comments about poor conditions at Parrot Depot she gave The News Tribune.

Vincent also said Gallawa was motivated to disparage Parrot Depot because “he felt slighted on a sale” and believes Scudder has possession of birds Gallawa believes belong to him. He declined to elaborate.

Gallawa said Tuesday that he has a business dispute with another parrot breeder who is an acquaintance of Vincent and Scudder, but that his fight against Parrot Depot has nothing to do with it.

“This has never been about any personal thing,” he said. “This has always been about the way they treat their animals.”

Vincent reiterated that he and Scudder take good care of their birds, that “they breathe fresh air,” are visited by a veterinarian three times a year and get a diet of seeds, fruits, vegetables, beans and grains.

Every parrot he breeds and sells is one less parrot snatched from the wild, he added.

“The bottom line is people are going to buy these birds for pets, whether they come from the wild or from the farm system,” Vincent said. “If I stand before my maker tomorrow, I’ll be proud.”

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644