Ex-jailhouse inmate Thomas Goodrich has filed a pro se federal suit against the Delaware Department of Corrections and the former warden of Young Correctional Institute seeking redress for the death of “Freddy,” a valuable parrot. In his complaint, Goodrich alleges that he was held for 12 days on a misdemeanor warrant without being allowed to contact anyone to arrange for Freddy’s feeding. Young seeks damages for the value of the parrot itself, as well as punitive damages against all defendants. It is unknown whether People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will seek to intervene in the suit, but a PETA representative has expressed strong displeasure over Freddy’s death, suggesting that perhaps jail would be appropriate for officials who allegedly caused the bird’s demise.
While it’s always a good idea to view allegations in lawsuits, particularly pro se suits, with skepticism, Goodrich’s complaint does allege a Kafkaesque ordeal over a minor warrant, in which Goodrich was not allowed to use a telephone, or to contact an attorney, or to contact family members to arrange security of $200. Finally, Goodrich alleges, he was able to get in touch with the outside world when after 10 days some friendly person gave him a postage stamp.
Unfortunately, by that time Freddy was an ex-parrot.