From online dispatches
An adult Florida Burrowing Owl perches on a post at a local park in Miami. REUTERS photo
Hundreds of owls are being abandoned at sanctuaries across Britain after they were bought as pets by Harry Potter fans, Mirror.co.uk reported
It is feared that many more owls have been illegally released into the wild and will eventually starve to death.
The Harry Potter series created a surge in demand for pet owls after fans saw Harry's avian companion Hedwig. Many of those who bought owls during the Potter craze are now reportedly bored of having to clean up after and take care of the birds, which can live up to 20 years.
Pam Toothill, who works at the Owlcenter sanctuary in Corwen, North Wales, said she only had six owls to look after before the films were released. "Now it's 100. It's all down to Harry Potter," she said. “People saw Harry’s owl in the movies and thought how cute and cuddly they looked. Now they are bored and fed up with all the work involved looking after an owl."
Totthill said an ideal aviary to house a pet owl would be six meters high, which costs about 900 pounds. “Owls need enough space to be able to flap their wings five times before landing back on a perch, or they get a chest infection. But we had one lady who was keeping two owls in her bedside cabinet in her bedroom.”
It is legal to keep an owl in Britain and no license is needed. Anyone caught releasing a captive owl, however, faces six months in jail or a 5,000-pound fine.