June 20, 2015 - 11:52 AM
OLIVER – RCMP are investigating after someone broke into the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls in Oliver and poisoned the rats used to feed the birds of prey.
The break-in happened overnight on June 6, according to a media release from the SORCO Raptor Rehab centre.
Manager Dale Belvedere says someone forced open the front gate.
“There was no evidence the person or persons entered the main buildings,” Belvedere says in the release. “They did get into the food centre where we raise rats as live food for the raptors.”
They had no idea the rats had been poisoned until two days later when most of the rodents died. She says a pathology test has confirmed a poisonous substance given to the animals.
Belvedere says while they feed their birds a variety of foods, rats are the primary food source because a raptor can only be released back into the wild once it can demonstrate an ability to hunt for live prey.
“Poisoning the food source for the birds in our care is a despicable act of cruelty,” she says. “Imagine if the vandals had killed one of our rehab birds.”
The Rehab Centre’s mascot Houdini is exhibiting some side possible side effects of eating a poisoned rat and is getting treatment as a precaution, she says.
The security procedures at the Centre are under review and Belvedere is appealing to anyone with information that can help with the police investigation to call the Oliver RCMP at 250-498-3422.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015