Talk about a cuckoo's nest!
I just got off the phone with Heidi Fleiss, aka the Hollywood Madam, who tells me she's joining PETA's fight on behalf of—ready for this?—birds!
Here's the deal: Ms. Fleiss began saving pet birds a few years ago after inheriting a gaggle of them from a fellow madam. She now has 20 of them flying around her house because she refuses to cage them.
"Listen, I'm a madam. I'm a cold person," Fleiss said. "I don't really bond with anything. I guess I'm mean in a way, but these birds got my heart. I love my birds so much. I normally wouldn't go out of my way for anything, but this is so important."
It's so important that she's planning on being in New York City tomorrow to talk at PetSmart's annual shareholder meetings. Speaking on behalf of PETA, Fleiss will urge the pet-store chain to stop selling birds at its more than 1,137 stores throughout the United States and Canada.
"It's cruel what has been done to birds," said Fleiss, whose love for her winged companions was first highlighted in the 2008 documentary, Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal.
"Ideally, my goal would be for them to open a bird habitat, where people could come see these creatures. They could make money like Sea World, off of things like admission and merchandise. They would be doing the right thing. I'd even run it for them."
Fleiss feels birds have been overlooked for way too long.
"Let me tell you, there are birds all over the United States, and they're in garages, closets [and] under blankets," she explained. "You have no idea how bad it is. Everyone cares about dogs and cats, but no one gives a f--k about birds."
A rep for PetSmart said the company has no plans to stop the sale of birds. "We have some fundamental and philosophical difference with PETA," the rep said.