AN eagle owl with a six foot wing span has been caught in Northam after some people complained it was terrorising them and their pets.
The huge bird of prey was caught in Bay View Road yesterday.
But while some residents were pleased the owl has been caught others were unhappy and complained to police that it had been taken illegally.
Sandra and Peter Morris, who live in Bay View Road, said they were relieved when the owners of the Owls R Us owl sanctuary, in Chulmleigh, Jo and Nigel Palmer, managed to catch the bird yesterday afternoon.
Peter, 65, said: “We haven't been able to let our three young grandchildren out in the garden for months. We got more concerned when the owl tried to attack our poodle Minnie.
“Minnie was out in the garden and I saw the owl swoop. I got in the way to protect the dog and the bird flew into me. It didn't draw blood or knock me over but it was a big weight.
“We love the bird to bits. We have seen it in our garden since February, but it was just the risk it was posing. We were beginning to feel really trapped in our home and it really has been a worry. We know being in a sanctuary will be the best for the bird's welfare. It has been looking so lonely.”
Owl keeper Ian Berwick agreed it was in the owl's interest it should be kept in a safer place. Ian, who owns a female eagle owl called Sage, said: “It is fairer for the bird and it has obviously been let out or escaped because otherwise it wouldn't respond to food like it does.”
Ian said the male owl had been looking for a mate so he tried to lure it with his own bird Sage on Sunday but was unsuccessful.
It’s understood some of the street’s residents enjoyed having the owl around and were leaving food out for it.
PC Martin Beck, a police wildlife liaison officer, confirmed an investigation was ongoing and would be completed once a DEFRA licence for the bird’s capture had been obtained.
The eagle owl has been a talking point in North Devon for more than a year after it was first spotted in Westward Ho! in October 2011. It has also been sighted in Barnstaple, Landkey and Combe Martin.
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VIDEO: The European Eagle Owl captured on film in Westward Ho! in October 2011: