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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

wtf: people were inspired by Harry Potter to buy owls as pets

Just when you think people can’t get any fucking stupider, they prove you wrong. From the Telegraph:

The Potter phenomenon has been blamed for a surge in the number of people buying owls, emulating the young magician who keeps a snowy owl called Hedwig as a pet.

Now, come on. Harry Potter is a lovely, lovely fantasy — aside from all the dark scary stuff, that is — but what parent listens to their kid begging for an owl — an owl! — and thinks, Hey, it might be fun to bring a dangerous predator into the house?

An idiot, that’s what kind of parent.

Now an animal sanctuary has opened on the Isle of Wight to help cope with the problem of owls dumped by owners who can no-longer care for them properly.

Animal expert Don Walser, who has opened Newport Owl and Monkey Sanctuary, said: “The problem is that no licence is required, anyone can buy an owl.

“They might look great in the Harry Potter films, but it takes years to train them. Children read the books and see the films and say to their mums and dads they want one and parents don’t realise how much care it takes to look after them.

“We have got about 20 owls at the moment, which have come from all over the country.

Thank goodness some adults can be trusted to clean up the messes left by the idiots.

“I have a pair of snowy owls that were left in a garden by their owners for three days without food. They would have died. It was disgusting.

“Some people keep them in appalling conditions,” said Mr Walser.

Maybe these idiot owl owners should be fed to the owls…

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  • Overflight

    Lassie: Collies
    Beethoven: St Bernards
    101 Dalmatians: Dalmatians
    Harry Potter: Owls
    Finding Nemo: Clownfish
    Ratatouille: Pet rats

    Isn’t it wonderful how history repeats itself, time and again? Maybe they Alpha and Omega will spark an interest in pet wolves and causing the bigger idiots to remove themselves from the gene pool…

  • at least everything but the owls are actually domesticated and there are ways to taking care of them — products and special foods available. owls are raptors… they need to be fed by hunting. only an idiot thinks a raptor can be easily domesticated and fed something like “purina owl chow.”

  • Jurgan

    Ratatouille: Pet rats

    What’s wrong with that? Rats make great pets, and they’re pretty low maintenance.

  • Victor Plenty

    Rats CAN make great pets, but they need substantial social contact to stay in good mental and physical health. NO animal is safe in the hands of a person who gets a pet on a random impulse, gets bored after awhile, and then acts as if the animal needs ZERO maintenance.

  • Dymphna

    I took care of owls at a wildlife refuge. Scary, smelly, meeeaaan creatures. I mean, they are 100% wild animals. They have to be mean. Good for them. Just, seriously, not pets.

    We fed them dead chicks in a special way that made it sorta seem like they were sorta hunting. It was a nasty experience.

    Once I got stuck for like half an hour bending over at the waist because one of them landed on my back and his claws would have ripped my skin up (through my jacket) if I’d moved suddenly.

    So far beyond the problems with, say, Dalmations.

  • CB

    but what parent listens to their kid begging for an owl — an owl! — and thinks, Hey, it might be fun to bring a dangerous predator into the house?

    An idiot, that’s what kind of parent.

    Indeed. The same kind of idiot who thinks a baby Burmese Python makes a cute little pet… and then gets tired of it once the thing hits about 10ft long with no signs of stopping and dumps it near the Everglades where it eats everything up to and including alligators (caution – kinda gross).

    Seriously, people can be morons.

  • JoshDM

    Dalmations are so horribly, horribly in-bred. This is coming from a multiple dachshund owner.

  • i like rats, personally… and my sister who has been a veteranarian surgical nurse, and currently works at the bronx zoo, has also rehabilitated raptors (for return to the wild) and she says owls are tough. i must admit that one of the great thrills of my life in recent years was holding a baby barn owl (my favorite species of owl), but the person with them was a licensed specialist. it’s always idiotic to get a pet as a fashionable item.

  • Muzz

    There’s some old American children’s novel (or series of stories, I think) about some kids who ended up with Great Horned Owls, or something, as pets. They were said to be almost as tall as the kids themselves (a bit of literary license there I think). I always wanted an owl after that though.

    While it is often terribly cruel to have these creatures subject to humans exploiting pet fashions, and worth remembering, every cute cat video on the net probably makes some contribution to the squillions of unwanted kittens that are gassed every day.

    And don’t go and see dolphins in any sort of captivity ever (just watched The Cove recently. Yeesh. We kind of suck at looking after things don’t we).

  • Martin

    Ah, that old mix of people that have a Disney-fied view of nature (i.e. all ‘hero’ animals are automatically domesticated) and parents that can’t say no to their kids. All it takes is that one little word and maybe an explanation as to why it’s a stupid idea and that’s it.
    But most idiot parents want to be their kid’s best friend/be seen as being cool so idiocy reigns.

  • For what it’s worth, I still remember getting obsessed as a kid with having a wild squirrel as a pet just from seeing the illustrations in one of the family’s encyclopedias. I even remember getting the odd notion that you could order such pets through the mail. (Hey, I was a kid.)

    Fortunately, my mother shot down all such squirrel-related notions pretty quickly.

  • gensing

    The other culpable party in this disgrace is the person selling the owls to these parents. The buyers are ignorant – the sellers know better.

    Back in the ’70s, my boyfriend and I were snake “wranglers” in LA – breeding, taming, and sometimes working with large snakes and other reptiles on films/TV.

    Before we would sell an animal to anyone, they were given an extensive interview and lecture to determine if they were capable of giving the intense care for the life of the animal. If we didn’t turn them down then (and we often did) we would train them on housing, feeding, and handling of the animal. This was standard among all reputable dealers of exotics. Buyers pledged that if they ever had any trouble or could no longer handle the animal, they would contact us for assistance.

    The best parents would have their kids come and help us care for the animals for a few hours every week for a few months. This helped train the child and also tested their long term commitment. Most kids got tired of the drudgery after a couple of weeks, but a few made it, finally getting there own reptiles. I’m proud to say, some of our ‘students’ even grew up to make their profession in conservation, zoo keeping, or animal protection.

    But all too often I knew that someone we turned down would find another dealer, somewhere, willing to sell with no consideration for the welfare of the animal.

  • RogerBW

    Overflight, perhaps someone should make a film about cute fluffy alligators and how they love to have their bellies rubbed…

  • Isobel

    I love owls and have stroked a barn owl, but it was a special case (hand reared as an orphan). I love hawks too but I’d never have them, they’re proper undomesticated hunting wild animals. Think about how much attention and care a parrot needs, and they at least will eat seeds and fruit!

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