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Birds in Da 'Hood Now Have Bulletproof Vests

Cockatiel with bulletproof vest (Newark, NJ) Saddened by the drive-by shootings of family pets in this crime-stricken city, local resident Larry Warren put his creative skills to work.

The 36-year-old inventor has developed a line of bird-sized Kevlar vests to protect songbirds from stray bullets.

"The way I figure, there ought to be a big market for these," he said, fitting one of his vests on an grey parrot. "You invest a couple hundred bucks in a fancy bird - you sure as hell don't want him taking a .44 slug in the old aviary thorax, right?"

Warren said he did not have any statistics on the number of pet birds shot by Newark gang members, but he knew of some anecdotal cases.

"Guy owned a macaw over on South 8th and Central. Bird's just squawking away like nobody's business, being a bird," he said. "All of a sudden - BAM! Bird drops dead, kids are crying, wife brings up the cost of the damn macaw- nobody wins, pal."

InventorWarren: Keeping birds safe is his goal

Retailing between $39 and $69 per unit, Warren's bird vests have undergone considerable testing.

"It took us a while to get the right balance between bird protection and vest weight," he admitted. "After we blasted a half-dozen cockatoos during early testing, we had to switch to pigeons to keep the costs down."

Warren said that initial response from bird owners using the vests has been "pretty positive."

"People say the vests fit well, and birds that normally try to escape every time the cage opens can't fly away anymore," he chuckled. "And we've already had a couple of people test the vests on their birds with .22s and BB guns. Every bird has survived, although one lady's Budgie broke a couple of ribs. These are tough streets, man."

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Do you even have a clue as to how far the remains of a boid outfitted with a vest would fly, what's left of it. after taking a .44 mag round to the thorax?

Not pretty. . .
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