Animal rescue

Animal Rescue Barn Owl road show to educate people about the dangers of wild bird breeding

Hugo’s Small Animal Rescue on Smithy Lane recently received an animal welfare license from the Fylde Council, which will allow them to exhibit the various animals they have taken in – including three barn owls, an African spotted, a large Eurasian owl, a white-faced scops owl and a western screen owl.

It is hoped the show will help educate people about the dangers of breeding and buying wild birds.

Santuary founder Bailey Lister said: “By giving people the chance to meet an owl first hand, instead of watching Harry Potter, we can explain to them the situation they are in because people want them. as pets.

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Bailey Lister and Georgia Southern from Hugo’s Small Animal Sanctuary

“All the birds we have are captive bred, and some we don’t exhibit because they’re too traumatized from the abuse they’ve faced. A barn owl spent 13 years in a dog crate. When she came to see us, she couldn’t fly, we had to do physio with her and teach her how to flap her wings, because she had never needed them before.

“People raise these birds for money, and the birds suffer. They are kept in cars, in cramped conditions, and because there are no licensing laws for keeping owls , people get away with it.

“Once they have been bred in captivity, they can never be released. If you were to release a captive-bred barn owl, you would face a fine and possible jail time, as it would affect existing breeding programs. for barn owls.If I were to release our very own African spotted eagle it would be classed as an invasive species and would have to be destroyed as it would pose a risk to UK wildlife.

Hugo’s first owl show will be at the Fairhaven Dog Festival in Fairhaven Lake on Sunday, July 24. Volunteers will be on hand with a number of owls, educating people about the dangers of keeping the popular animals in their homes.

Baby Owl Frankie

The Owl Trust says owls are “terrible” pets, with larger breeds capable of biting off a child’s finger.

“Birds of prey don’t make good pets. Captive-bred and hand-raised owls can be very sweet and good-natured, but you should never forget that they are wild animals. They were never domesticated,” they said.

Bailey said: “I don’t see it as animals being used, more like animals helping us to help people, like police dogs. If an animal can stand up to the attention and be an ambassador for its species, then it will be.

“We have very high animal welfare standards, and if at any point the owl becomes stressed, he will be removed from that situation.

“I hope by doing this it will help us to engage more with the public, not only with funding but also from an animal welfare perspective. By doing this we might see fewer birds. of prey come through our doors.