Update: ‘Setting my pet owl free would be sentencing him to death’ - owner of missing European eagle owl is desperate for its return
06:30 28 June 2014
The owner of a pet owl which appears to have been stolen is desperate for its safe return.
The 14-month-old European eagle owl went missing from owner James Mann’s garden at Tunn Street, Fakenham yesterday morning.
Mr Mann fears the bird, named Sam, will die if it is set free because he can not fly far.
He said it poses a threat to pet cats, dogs and rabbits, which the bird may view as easy prey.
The owl had a metal clip attached to its feet and perch and Mr Mann, 22, believes somebody may have set it free.
He said: “It is moulting so can’t fly very far at the moment. It likes a lot of attention and has been making a lot of noise because he is bored.
“I believe somebody heard him and thought it was cruel that he was stuck there so set him free.
“But to do that would be sentencing him to death - he would starve.
“Somebody may have just stolen the bird, but you need to have knowledge to handle a bird that big and they won’t be able to sell him without his paperwork.
“As he can’t fly far he will see pet cats, dogs and rabbits as easy prey.”
Mr Mann, a chef, has owned the owl for a year. It cost £150.
He looks after Sam with his partner Kayla Battisti, 29, and had regularly took it out flying in the countryside before the bird started moulting.
He said: “He’s very friendly. He would fly to anyone who came out with a bird handler’s glove on.
“It’s upsetting because I’ve fed him and carefully looked after him since shortly after he hatched, so I hope he can be returned safely.”
The owl, which is brown and fully grown, disappeared some time between 3am and 8.45am yesterday.
Anyone with information should contact PC Paul Scarborough at Fakenham Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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