Rare owl stolen from animal sanctuary; likely headed for black market, handler says

YAKIMA -- A rare, 14-year-old tawny owl was taken from the Raptor House Rehabilitation Center Friday in Selah, Wash., the vice president of the animal sanctuary said.

Shannon Dalan, the sanctuary's vice president, said someone removed a lock from a building and unhatched multiple hinges sometime Friday, taking the owl from its cage.

The bird is glove trained and has never lived in the wild, Dalan said, and requires constant care. The owl, nicknamed Sherman after the Seahawks Richard Sherman, was sent to the sanctuary from St. Louis five years ago.

"It needs to be fed and can't live in the wild here," Dalan said.

The tawny animal is native to Europe and Asia, Dalan said. He believes the animal could fetch about $4,000 on the black market.

The Raptor House Rehabilitation Center holds about 20 birds of prey, most of which will be rehabbed and returned to the wild. Others are used for education purposes, Dalan said.

Anyone who has information about the missing owl should call the Yakima County's Sheriff's Office at 509-574-2500.