It all started 3 weeks ago when Dakota, the educational ambassador Great Horned Owl from the Oconomowoc Wildlife In Need Center in Wisconsin was stolen out of his locked inclosure by two teens who later posted the GHO’s picture onto their facebook page.
The teens broke into Dakota's cage, wrapped him in a sweatshirt, showed him to friends, and posed with the big bird for a photo posted on Facebook. The boys say Dakota flew away when they were at a friend's house in Dousman, and hasn't been seen since.
Dakota is 11 years old, and has always lived in captivity. Handlers say he could not survive in the wild on his own.
“ If there has been any upside to this sad situation, it has been the constant stream of caring we have been blessed with. We are humbled by the generosity of spirit the community has for Dakota, and overwhelmed by how he continues to educate, even during this current situation”
It has finally ended for his handlers and for Dakota the GHO.
The owl was rescued by staff about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday from a deck in Waukesha County. He has returned home.
Dakota got medical treatment when he returned to the center. He's very thin and dehydrated. He is also quite weak as evidenced by both his physical condition as well as his observed behavior since first sighted Wednesday morning.
Right now, Dakota is being kept quiet, resting and recuperating from his over 3 week ordeal. Dakota’s Veterinarian will be completing a thorough examination later Wednesday.
It is the greatest news I could hear today that Dakota has been found! A celebration of some kind is truly needed!!!! My prayers and everyone else's has been answered! Welcome home sweet Dakota!
The two teens have been charged in the case.