Pepper, a cockatiel who whistled Happy Birthday to customers at Kahoots Pet Store in Chino Hills, disappeared Aug. 31 to the dismay of patrons and employees.
The friendly bird, who occupied an enclosure in the front of the store, was not for sale but was provided for the enjoyment of customers, said store supervisor Christina Magana.
Kahoots is located in the Chino Hills Marketplace at Chino Hills Parkway and Pipeline Avenue.
Ms. Magana said several employees were standing relatively close to Pepper’s enclosure helping customers after a Saturday dog training event had ended.
She observed young adults among the customers milling around and 30 minutes later, a customer asked, “Where’s Pepper?”
The employees searched for the cockatiel in the shopping center and called the Chino Hills Police Department.
Capt. John Walker said a thorough investigation was conducted but there are no leads. He said the case will remain open as leads are identified.
The captain said there was no video at the location and nothing in the immediate area that would assist with the investigation.
Ms. Magana said the bird’s wings were clipped so it did not fly out of the store.
She said there has been an outpouring of support from customers and residents who have been calling or visiting the store to ask about Pepper.
Many residents used to visit the store for the sole purpose of playing with the cockatiel who whistled “Pop Goes the Weasel” and repeatedly said “hello Pepper,” she said.
Employee Julie Lass, a Chino resident, said the store does not sell pets anymore because of California law so it provided Pepper and two guinea pegs named Thelma and Louise for the pleasure of customers.
California was the first state in the nation to ban the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores unless they come from animal shelters or rescue groups.
A $500 reward is being offered for Pepper by two customers.
Ms. Maganaa said the reward will be given to anyone who returns Pepper alive and no questions will be asked.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Pepper are encouraged to contact Det. Andrew McCoy from the Chino Hills Police Department at 364-2000 or email him at amc firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kahoots can be reached at 606-9567.