Jenny De Selves: ‘Workmen lost my lovebird’

Much-loved Rainbow flew from house

Published: September 1, 2011

IN the wild, a lovebird’s greatest threats are snakes and birds of prey. In Camden Town, council builders pose a bigger problem, according to one distraught pet owner.

Jenny De Selves, 59, claims a Lakehouse workman contracted by Camden “lost” her much-loved Fischer’s Lovebird, Rainbow, while fitting a garden door at her College Place flat on August 4.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Rainbow, who has fondness for cashew nuts and catching coins in his beak, flew out of the house during a rainstorm when the workman came inside to smoke a cigarette.

Ms De Selves said: “Rainbow’s very friendly and he flew over and tried to land on his head.

“The guy sort of swiped at him and he flew out of the back door. The builder wasn’t really apologetic.

“They shouldn’t have even come round – they were trying to do cement work in torrential rain.”

Ms De Selves, a former probation officer, is unable to go out looking for her pet as she suffers from panic attacks and agoraphobia since suffering a near-fatal assault in Camden in 1998.

Friends have printed and put up posters of the missing bird, who is about five inches tall with a green and yellow body, red beak and orange head.

She added: “Rainbow’s my company. He’d sit on your shoulder and kiss your ears. I just fell in love with the little bird and now he’s gone. He won’t survive out there. He’s so tiny.”

Council officers offered to buy Ms De Selves another bird to replace the missing Lovebird – a breed known as a “pocket parrot” – but she refused.

“I said, ‘Forget it’. It’s not appropriate. I don’t want another bird. What’s happened with Rainbow is crucifying me. This little bird gave me a sort of purpose. I had to look after something. I threw my love at it.”

Ms De Selves believes Rainbow may still be in the area and she has been sleeping on the sofa at night with the window open in case he comes back.

Lakehouse contractors have a £413million “Investing in Camden’s Homes” deal with the Town Hall, covering repairs and improvements to council flats across the borough.

A Lakehouse spokeswoman said the company had “sympathy for the resident and the loss of a much-loved pet” but did not accept responsibility for what had happened.

“It would appear that Lakehouse instructed the resident to keep the bird in its cage while work was being undertaken in her home. Our instructions are intended to ensure the safety of the resident, our own operatives, and the bird itself,” she said.

The workman “did not touch the bird but ducked to avoid it”, the spokeswoman said, adding: “Lakehouse is aware of the resident’s distress and we are supporting both the resident and Camden Council while they agree the best way to resolve the situation.”

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Rainbow should contact Ms De Selves on 0207 916 3616.


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