And it’s feared many more have been illegally released into the wild and will have starved to death

Animal sanctuaries in England are caring for hundreds of pet owls that were abandoned by their owners in the past year, a disturbing trend rescuers believe is linked to the end of the "Harry Potter" series.

"Harry Potter" fans enchanted with the boy wizard's owl sidekick Hedwig drove up demand for the birds during book and movie releases, the Mirror reports. But now that all book installments and film adaptations have been released, many owners are abandoning their pet owls into the wild, where they are unprepared to care for themselves.

"Before the films were out I had six owls, now it's 100. It’s all down to ­Harry Potter," Pam Toothill, a rescue workers at the Owlcenter sanctuary in Corwen, North Wales, told the paper. "People saw ­Harry’s owl in the movies and thought how cute and cuddly they looked. Now they are bored and fed-up with all the work involved looking after an owl."

Toothill said that in order to properly to care for owls, owners need to purchase a 20-ft. aviary, which can easily cost more than $1,000. Unfortunately, many unprepared pet owners have kept birds in apartments with limited space -- one owl Toothill rescued had been living in a man's bedroom.

"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling has pleaded with fans to sponsor an owl that needs help rather than trying to take one in as a pet, according to the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary.

"If anybody has been influenced by my books to think an owl would be happiest shut in a small cage and kept in a house, I would like to take this opportunity to say as forcefully as I can, 'you are wrong,'" Rowling said.

But if past cases of fan-fueled animal crazes are any indication, people are often undeterred by such advice. When Disney released the live-action film '101 Dalmatians' in 1996, animals rights advocates worked tirelessly to educate prospective pet owners about the breed in order to prevent disastrous adoptions.

Unfortunately, the film's popularity fueled thousands of Dalmatian puppy adoptions that owners later regretted, and shelters were soon overflowing with unwanted dogs, The New York Times reported in 1997.

Careless owners: People are abandoning pets, such as this barn owl

Years earlier, thousands of pet turtles met a similar fate after fans of the animated "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" TV series grew tired of their newly-adopted pets, according to Many dumped their turtles in ponds or lakes, where they began to reproduce and outcompete indigenous species of turtles for food.

Pat Morrison, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, wrote that L.A.-area animal shelters see a rise in pet abandonments whenever a popular animal movie is released. The movie "Babe" spurred unwise pig adoptions, and the movies "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" and "Marmaduke" caused similar upswings in failed adoptions for Chihuahas and Great Danes.

"Every time a cute-dog or cute-cat movie comes out, 5% of the box office take –- gross, not net; I have lived here long enough to know about Hollywood accounting –- should go to animal shelters to take care of these bought-and-abandoned "fad dogs," Morrison wrote. (Source)

Responses to "'Harry Potter' Fans Abandoning Pet Owls Following End Of Series"

  1. Teri says:

    Harry Potter Fans,
    If you have already made the unfortunate decision to acquire an Owl..
    Please contact your local RAPTURE CENTER for information on correct care for your Owl. You have a wild bird of prey which needs completely different care than birds raised in captivity.
    You have a responsibility to take care of the Owl for the rest of it's life. When you made the decision for your Owl to be kept in captivity, that decision caused them to lose their natural survival skills. This (loss of survival skills) occurs when any Wild Animal is forced to rely on Humans for food.
    If you live in an area without a Rapture Center, contact your local Humane Society for information on care. But do not send your Owl back into the wild: IT WILL DIE AND BE YOUR FAULT.

  2. Anonymous says:

    People should educate themselves before taking on an animal into their lives. But as usual there are stupid people in this world that think nothing only about themselves.

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