Retiree Banned From Taking Pet Owls on Walks

More on PawNation: barn owl, BarnOwl, birds of prey, BirdsOfPrey, england, nocturnal animals, owl, owl man, OwlMan, pet owls, PetOwls, plympton, russell burt, RussellBurt, tawny owl, TawnyOwl, UK

pet owlsJohn Allen, SWNS

For nine years, Russell Burt, the "owl man" of Plympton, Devon, U.K., has gone with his winged friends for leisurely walks through town, entertaining guests at village festivals, and generally sharing the joy of owl-human interaction right out in public. But not anymore.

According to the (U.K.) Daily Mail, a "member of the public" recently reported the Owl Man to the police for animal cruelty, "complaining that owls are nocturnal creatures and should be sleeping during the day, not parading on the streets of Plympton." Apparently, that's all it took for city officials to shut down Russell's activities for good.

Despite his owls' excellent manners and squeaky-clean criminal record, the town's animal-control officials informed Russell that he was no longer allowed to take his owls out of the house. "They told me that it was a danger to the public on a public highway and dangerous to the cars," Russell told the Daily Mail.

"In the wild, owls live a nocturnal lifestyle. We are concerned about welfare issues around exposing them to loud, hectic environments," one council member tells the Daily Express. "There are also safety issues for the public around a large, spooked bird of prey running amok on a highway," she adds.

Altogether, Russell owns seven owls: a Bengal eagle owl named Ben, a spotted eagle owl named Spot, a tawny owl named Mika, an African Scops named Scoppy, and three barn owls, named Misty, Chas and Scuff.

On the bright side for Burt and his birds, he will reportedly still be allowed to take his owls to schools and nursing homes to teach and entertain.

What do you think Paw Nation? Should the Owl Man be allowed to wander town with his birds or is it animal cruelty to keep the owls awake during the day?

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