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‘Muggles’ Abandon Oodles of ‘Pet’ Owls

Written by PETA | August 26, 2009 / CC


Never buy an animal on a whim just because you saw one in a movie. How many times do we have to say this?

It looks like at least once more. Harry Potter fans, or to be more precise, their parents, have broken our cardinal rule of movie fandom. As a result, an animal sanctuary has opened on the Isle of Wight in the U.K. to help cope with the problem of owls who have been dumped by people who purchased them without thinking.

In the books and movies, Harry’s snowy owl, Hedwig, is portrayed as low-maintenance, but many fans who purchased snowy owls for their kids are realizing that real owls require a lot of attention—and they’re abandoning the birds after the magic wears off.

The moral of this story is twofold. Companion animals shouldn’t be acquired on a whim, and birds of prey shouldn’t be preyed upon by film fanatics.

Written by Karin Bennett

Commenting is closed.
  • Anastasia Coles says:

    I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan but I would never THINK of actually buying an owl! Especially not for your kid. Come on people, how dumb can you be?

  • Derek, MD says:

    On the subject of raptors my wife saw an injured hawk on the side of the road in rural Iowa and luckily we found a raptor rehabilitation center about 75 miles away who gladly accepted the responsibility of caring for the hawk…if we caught it and drove it to them. One big winter coat and cardboard box later and “Feathers” as my son named it was on its way to the rehab center. I think that only its wing was broken so hopefully Feathers will do well!

  • Ii says:

    Snowy owls come from my country. There they are respected wild animals. Noone would think of having one at home. Please do not try to rear one. The UK should have strict laws to prohibit this. MPs over to you.

  • Ben says:

    Normally I’m not one to speak out on this site. I’m not a vegitarian but I also disagree with alot of crueltytreatment of animals. This however is just sheer stupidity much akin to when 101 dalmations came out. Who in their right minds would sell an animal to a person who was obviously only in it because of fandom. If the parent mentioned HP at any point during the transaction it should have been void. I find it rather amusing that the “Nanny State” doesn’t have at the very least some type of training or educational course to let people know what they’re in for

  • Joanne says:

    I think the more important question is WHY the U.K. doesnt have better laws in place to ban the selling breeding and purchasing of birds of pray and other exotic animals. Simply Terrible! JMH Michigan

  • April says:

    JK Rowling has also spoken out on this issue. She is constantly reminding people that her stories are of course fictional and that people shouldn’t be running out to buy pet owls because they are wild animals that only highly trained experts should be handling and caring for owls. Its just like with any animal people don’t do their research and prepare themselves before taking an animal into their home.

  • Rosa says:

    Absent from these comments is a simple fact. Owls are wild animals. Wild animals need to be in the wild. Pretty obvious. They are not “difficult to keep” or “maintenance” NOT companion animals. Animals like chickens cats and dogs have become accustomed to being feed by people. Owls are magnificent magical creatures. Who would be stupid enough to buy one because of a FANTASY movie. And who would be criminal evough to capture owls to sell them? These poachers should be prosecuted immediately. And those that bought owls? Look up fiction and nonfiction in the dictionary. And check out the rest of PETA to learn to respect wild animals

  • Alicia says:

    I almost fell into this too. I am so glad I didnt. Owls are very difficult to keep and need to be free. I on the other hand settled for Homing Pigeons who still require tons of work I am with mine 26 hours a day they can exersise freely and are domesticated unlike Owls.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    The people who attend movies and then abruptly purchase an animal featured in the movie are a bit intellectually challenged. When they abandon the animal they are morally impoverished.

  • Jason says:

    I would agree with PETA on this I’m a falconer and have been one for 15 years. Owls are fairly low maintenance but compared to other pets they are a chore.

  • Olivia says:

    I can’t believe that people still can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality. I mean anyone with half a brain could tell you that just because something may work in a movie or on television that it’s going to work in real life. Get a damn clue people!

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    My animal care instructor knew the trainer who trained the owl who played the role of Hedwig in the Harry Potter movies. Incidentally she also played all of the other owls in the films…she was used as the model for the GGI. Then all the other images were altered to show different sizes colors and conditions of owls remember poor Errol? Also in the picture Harry seems to be handling Hedwig without using an arm guard for protection against her talons. According to Hedwig’s trainer Daniel Radcliff wore the arm guard under his costume and had extensive training for that scene. Owls are high maintenence extremely complicated animals to keep I later had the priveledge to work with some in another class. They eat smaller animals such as mice and if you are not prepared to feed them that you should not have them. Also they are nocturnal so be prepared to lose some sleep. And they need to fly. As Harry pleaded with his uncle “If I could just let her out for an hour or two…”