Dakota doing better, moved to aviary
Staff at the Wildlife In Need Center was happy to report Tuesday that Dakota has moved from the small enclosure he has been in since his rescue to a large indoor aviary.
A Facebook post on the center's page shared the news.
"He has finally reached a weight that allowed his vet to give the 'OK' for him to move. He still has some weight to gain before being at his normal weight, but he's getting closer.
"Also he was able to have his first fully furred whole prey meal today. He finished his meal in under 30 seconds ... he loved it!" the post continues.
The indoor aviary is a new feature in the center's new, expanded facility. It will allow center staff to slowly decrease the temperature to re-acclimate Dakota to outside temps as he recovers.
The great horned owl was taken from the center in mid-November. Two Dousman teens were later interviewed by sheriff's detectives when a tip about a photo of a person holding the owl was posted on Facebook. The teens, Matthew Kuhlemeyer and Dilan White admitted to taking the owl. They said they went to a house in the area of Hunters Lake and the owl got away from them there flying into the woods.
After weeks of searching staff was able to recapture Dakota with the help of residents in the area. He had lost more than 30 percent of his body weight and staff said he was a mere days from death. The owl having lived in captivity for most of his life does not know how to hunt in the wild.
The teens have a hearing on Thursday, Dec. 29. They both face charges of felony burglary and misdemeanor property damage.
Watch this website for updates on Dakota and a more in-depth story about the newly expanded Wildlife In Need Center.
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