Neighbors Want to Find Chelsea Murder Victim's Cockatoo a Good Home

By Mathew Katz on March 6, 2012 8:30am 

A white Goffin cockatoo, similar to Bolo, the beloved bird of slain Chelsea man John Laubach.
A white Goffin cockatoo, similar to Bolo, the beloved bird of slain Chelsea man John Laubach.
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flickr/Eric Bryan

CHELSEA — A group of parrot lovers have made it their mission to make sure the beloved cockatoo of a murdered Chelsea man doesn't get lost in the system.

John Laubach, 57, who was found bound with duct tape and electrical cord in his Chelsea apartment, was renowned in the neighborhood for keeping a white Goffin cockatoo called Bolo.

The Parrot Fancier's Club, a group of bird-keepers in and around the New York area, want to make sure that Bolo is well taken care of. They have reached out to city officials to offer him a place in their sanctuary on Long Island, and several members have expressed interested in adopting the homeless bird, rather than keeping him in an animal shelter.

"I have experiences through friends with [animal shelters]. They’re not really set up to handle exotic birds," said club member Jeff Weil, who jumped into action when a friend, Dianna Maeurer, told him about Bolo.

Weil, who has six parrots, added that the cockatoo was likely heavily traumatized if it had spent hours in a room with Laubach's body. 

"The bird could be very, very shaken up from having the experience it just did," he said. "We don't want it to get any worse."

The 'Parrot Haven' in Amityville, N.Y., is designed to help injured or traumatized parrots, and eventually find them a good home that's prepared for the stresses of owning an exotic bird.

City officials said the cockatoo is currently with Animal Care & Control, which is waiting to see if a family member will take it. Otherwise, it will give Bolo to a partner that specializes in the care of cockatoos.

Animal Care & Control did not respond for comment.

Neighbors said they often saw Laubauch, whose cause of death is still pending, around the area with Bolo perched on his shoulder.

"I saw him sitting out there with the bird all the time," said Maeurer, who's also been in contact with city officials regarding Bolo. "He'd always smile there, with the bird on his shoulder."

Another neighbor, Werner Graham, said Laubauch and Bolo were neighborhood icons.

John Laubach was found dead in his apartment on Friday.
John Laubach was found dead in his apartment on Friday.
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"He was the bird guy. Everyone knew him as the bird guy," Graham said. "I mean, I hope the parrot ends up okay. It would be really important to him." 

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