Hartselle store told to find parrot new perch

HARTSELLE, Ala. (AP) - An African gray parrot who spent almost 18 months at a Hartselle convenience store, eating peanuts, entertaining children and reminding workers when the telephone rings, is ruffling health agency feathers.

The Alabama Department of Public Health told Mike Peebles, the owner of Cowboy's Convenience Store, he has to remove the bird, named Festus after the "Gunsmoke" TV character.

Alabama law prohibits animals from being in food service establishments.

Peebles said Wednesday he has moved the bird to a back office.

But he isn't giving up.

He said he called someone at the governor's office Tuesday and that he's going to get back with him about the parrot situation.

Peebles said he may have a competition to find a home for Festus if he can't compromise with health inspectors.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) AP-NY-11-20-08 0604EST