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Lucy, the escaped parrot caught in a $500 dispute, returns home

ST. PETERSBURG — Lucy got to go home.

The 40-year-old parrot was trapped in a custody dispute between her owner, Vanessa Munoz, and widely known wildlife trapper Vernon Yates.

A parrot rescue group paid Yates' $600 fee for retrieving and storing Lucy, a yellow-naped Amazon parrot known for singing Itsy Bitsy Spider. The group donated $100 and lent Munoz the other $500, she told the Tampa Bay Times.

Lucy, who has Houdini-like skills, escaped her cage June 1 in the Five Towns area. A nearby condo owner found her on a balcony and called Yates to remove the bird.

A rift then developed between Munoz and Yates over Lucy's identification and storage fees. Yates said he charges a $100 removal fee and $25 per day for storage to all pet owners.

The rescue group will also clip Lucy's wings and help Munoz build a bigger cage. Newspaper readers offered to spring Lucy, but Munoz refused the help.

"I didn't want people to think I was opportunistic," she said. "I am absolutely ecstatic she is coming home. I don't want this to happen to other parrot owners."

Mark Puente can be reached at or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at