The so-called former “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss, who owns and operates a tropical bird sanctuary in Pahrump, says two of her prized macaws were wounded by BB pellets — again.
Fleiss says her beloved birds were shot by a person armed with a BB gun on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 16 in the desert area along Country Place Road, just a short distance from her Fort Churchill property in northern Pahrump.
Fleiss told the Pahrump Valley Times last week that she suspects the shooter is a juvenile and would like to talk to their family to educate them on the endangered species.
“I wanted to burn their house down with their kids in it, but instead, I’m going to talk to the parents reasonably and show them the harm that it does, and explain to them that these are really special animals that are not going to be around in 20 years.”
Fleiss said she plans to “go door-to-door to find out who did this.”
The majority of macaws are now endangered in the wild and a few are extinct. The scarlet macaw species has only 300-400 birds estimated to survive in the wild in Guatemala, Mexico and Belize.
Neighbor offers help
Roughly a few miles from the 40-acre aviary owned by Fleiss, her friend Joleen Harrington, suspects she heard the aftermath of the birds’ shooting.
“I had my window slightly open and I could hear one of them screaming,” Harrington said. “They’re kind of loud birds, so I didn’t think nothing of it, but Heidi messaged me and asked me if I had seen the birds because one of them wasn’t home.”
After searching the area, Fleiss and Harrington eventually located the birds perched in a tree.
Jesse and Juicy survived their wounds.
Following a visit to a Pahrump veterinary clinic, Fleiss said her birds are still recovering but at least one is immobilized.
“He can’t fly anymore right now and hopefully he’ll have a full recovery,” she said. “He can’t do anything.”
Not the first shooting
On Christmas Eve 2021, another of Fleiss’ birds named Chuey was wounded by a BB gun in the same area.
And in March 2022 a Pahrump judge sentenced a woman to six months in jail after being convicted of stealing one of the exotic birds.
Fleiss at one time had considered moving her sanctuary to a location in Missouri, but instead, remained in Nevada.
“I really enjoy living here and it’s been by far, the best years of my entire life here in Pahrump,” she said. “But because of these problems with the kids shooting my birds, I might move them to a place that I have in escrow in Las Vegas. It’s right next to a cemetery with mature trees and it’s walled-in, so they’ll be safe.”
Fleiss has long advocated that Nevada lawmakers harshen penalties for those who steal animals.
Anyone with information about the incident can contact the Nye County Sheriff’s Office at 775-751-7000, or Nye County Animal Control at 775-751-6315. Fleiss’ bird sanctuary can be reached at 775-764-0775.
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes