The South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls (SORCO) is asking for help finding the suspects who broke into the facility and poisoned the live rats used for Owl food.
On the evening of June 6, or the early morning hours of June 7, police say someone broke into the property forcing open the front gate.
SORCO manager Dale Belvedere said that there is no evidence the suspected individual or individuals entered the main building of the facility, however they did get into the food centre.
“We know that because two days later most of the rats were dead,” said Belvedere in a press release.
Police have confirmed the break-in and are currently investigating. A pathology test has confined that the rats died from a poisonous substance.
SORCO uses a variety of foods depending on the particular needs of the recovering bird, however, rats are the primary food source. The rats are also used before a raptor can be released back into the wild, as they need to demonstrate their ability to hunt live prey.
“It’s devastating that someone violated our premises. Poisoning the food source for the birds in our care is a despicable act of cruelty,” said Belvedere. “Imagine if the vandal(s) had killed one of our rehab birds. Our mascot Houdini has exhibited some possible side effects, so she is receiving precautionary treatment.”
SORCO is reviewing its security procedures. Anyone having information related to this matter can call the Oliver RCMP at 250-498-3422.