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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 December 2007, 15:48 GMT
Greek parrot in parking fine row
By Malcolm Brabant
BBC News, Patras

Coco and his parking spot

A legal battle is under way in the western Greek city of Patras over a parrot that is facing a $650 (320; 444 euros) parking ticket.

The local council says his perch is illegally parked and is obstructing drivers because it partially blocks a metered parking space.

Coco the parrot's owner, Lambros Michalopoulos, says the bird will die if it has to move back inside.

Neither side is backing down so now the dispute is going to the courts.

'Sociable creature'

With his multi-coloured Amazonian plumage and extrovert personality, Coco has, for 18 years, been something of a mascot in this busy port city, with narrow streets and precious few parking places.

Coco the parrot
Coco could be heading for court

His small perch occupies part of a metered zone and under the zero tolerance rules, the local police have ordered Mr Michalopoulos to pay a heavy fine.

The pet shop owner says he has ignored the authorities because if Coco goes back inside the store permanently the macaw will die because he is a sociable creature who enjoys being with people.

Patras's Deputy Mayor Spiros Demartinos is embarrassed that Coco's plight is attracting international attention.

He would prefer to talk about the city's ambitious plans to use parking revenue for funding bicycle lanes and pedestrian zones.

"Is it bureaucratic to be concerned about the parrot's safety?" he asks.

"The parrot's security is of paramount concern to the council."

Both sides are refusing to back down and so the dispute is heading to the palace of justice.

Coco's owner is hoping that the case will be laughed out of court.

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