Las Vegas team aiding many animals beyond pigeons with hats

December 17, 2019 GMT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — While they have gained attention for their recent efforts to track down and rescue pigeons with hats attached to their heads, a Nevada mother and daughter team rescues a variety of animals.

Animal rescue organization Lofty Hopes includes Cheyane Frankenberg and her mother Mariah Hillman, who house up to 250 animals in need of assistance, The Reno Gazette Journal reported.

Earlier this month when a video of two pigeons wearing miniature red cowboy hats in Las Vegas appeared, Frankenberg and Hillman urged people to feed the birds until they could arrive to trap and aid the pigeons.

Glue is believed to have been used to stick hats onto pigeons dubbed Cluck Norris and Coolamity Jane.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the “Chuck Norris” pigeon was corralled Monday at a condominium complex near the UNLV campus, but the rescue organization still is trying to trap the other pigeon.

Hillman and Frankenberg have conducted hundreds of animal rescue efforts prior to the abused pigeons, whose perpetrators remain unknown despite widespread video sharing and calls for assistance on social media.

Hillman is a former hospice care worker and correctional officer from California who was introduced by a friend to pigeon rescue and adoption.

The Lofty Hopes shelter is located in her apartment near the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where the pigeon rescue effort began with two birds.

Since then Lofty Hopes has hosted rabbits, a chinchilla, several amphibians, a blind dog named Lamb Chop, and a duck named Slappy.

Four aviaries outside the apartment are filled with pigeons. The rescued birds have varying problems, Hillman said, noting that permanently disabled birds are transported to a sanctuary in Phoenix.

“Some of them just need peanuts to fatten up,” Hillman said.

When pigeons have been rehabilitated and baby birds in their care have grown, Lofty Hopes releases them west of Las Vegas in Pahrump, Nevada, unless someone adopts them first.

“They’re so comforting,” Hillman said. “When they bond to a human, they love you for life.”