June 23, 2015 - 9:00 PM
PENTICTON - A break and enter and food poisoning at the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls has left staff wondering what the reasons were for the weekend crime.
Centre Manager Dale Belvedere says the rehab centre was broken into sometime overnight Saturday. It appears whoever broke in poisoned a bucket containing food for rats, which the bird rehabilitation centre uses to feed their recovering birds.
“We have no idea why anyone would do this. Did they want to kill the rats, or were they hoping to poison all the birds in our care?” Belvedere says.
She says the owls being poisoned would eventually have been the result had the rat poisoning not been caught quickly. On Monday, June 22, one rat was dead and by Tuesday 140 had died. When staff discovered what happened they quickly stopped using the tainted food but the centre still lost a total of 170 rats, all to hemorrhaging, and it will take months to replenish the stock.
The centre's mascot, a great horned owl named Houdini, was showing signs of ingesting the poison and has begun a two-week treatment regimen to deal with the possible poisoning.
“It’s too soon to tell what effect this will have on him. We’re trying to find out what kind of poison it was, but that could take a month or more to determine,” Belvedere says, adding she hopes he'll be back to normal by the end of the two-week treatment. “I’ve noticed his temperament has changed."
Belvedere says the poisoning has been devastating to those working and volunteering at the centre.
“We treated the rats as pets, so this has been very upsetting, hard on everyone,” she says. “We’d really like to know who did this — we’re hoping someone will come forward with information, because we would also really like to know why someone would do this."
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015