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Potty-mouthed cockatoo swears at the neighbors; owner in trouble

September 07, 2012|By Rene Lynch | This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.
  • Owners can train pet cockatoos to speak. A Rhode Island cockatoo's foul mouth has landed its owner in court.
Owners can train pet cockatoos to speak. A Rhode Island cockatoo's… (rggoldie / Flickr )

A cussing cockatoo has landed a Rhode Island woman in court for allegedly teaching the bird to curse up a storm at her next-door neighbors, who just happen to be her ex-husband and his new girlfriend.

The Providence Journal brings us the story that has been squawking up amusement across the Internet today. The Rhode Island newspaper reports that Lynne Taylor, of Warwick, R.I., has allegedly trained her pet cockatoo, Willy, to curse at her next-door neighbors.

The Associated Press says the next-door neighbors are Kathleen Melker and Craig Fontaine -- who is Taylor's ex-husband. The new love birds say that the real bird cusses up a storm at them, with some rants going on as long as 15 minutes at a time, according to the news service. Curses include calling Melker a "whore."

Now, why would the pet cockatoo call her that, and where did it learn such salty language?

The newspaper reports that the dispute over the potty-mouthed bird is the latest in a spate of reported problems between the neighbors. Melker says that Taylor has thrown rocks over the fence and threatened to seize Melker's cat and "drown it." Those allegations, the paper notes, have not resulted in any charges.

For now, Taylor and Willy are facing only allegations that they're violating the city's animal-noise ordinance, according to the newspaper. Taylor's lawyer has tried to have the case dismissed, arguing that it's overly vague and unconstitutional. A judge has denied that request, the paper said.

The Providence Journal posted a poll alongside it's story, asking readers: "Does Willy the salty-mouthed cockatoo have First Amendment rights?" At last check, the poll was running in Willy's favor.

[For the Record, 11:35 a.m., Sept. 7: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of the cursed-at neighbor as Kathleen Lynne. Her name is Kathleen Melker.]

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