“It turned into a rather big event,” Lt. Huffman said, smiling. “Everyone was watching us try to capture it. Pretty much the entire store was fixated on the great owl capture.”
As they raced to one side of the store to catch up with the owl, the bird flew to a different section.
“It particularly enjoyed the fresh produce area and the alcohol aisle,” Huffman said. “The last thing we wanted to do was swing our nets around with all that expensive booze on the shelves.”
The burrowing owl had actually ended up in the store sometime late Tuesday night. Employees told the officers that everyone had hoped the owl would find its own way back out. But when it was still inside this morning, Riverside County Animal Services got the call.
Officers responded at about 10 a.m. and closed out the call by about noon.
“People were calling out to us, ‘It went that way!’” Huffman recalled. “I was able to get him in my net once, but my net got snagged as I tried to complete the capture and the owl escaped.”
Ultimately Ms. Verville and Officer Morris successfully snared the owl and, shortly thereafter, Morris sent the owl into the sky and back into the wild.
“It was last seen near the delivery dock,” Huffman said. “We think it was taking a bit of a rest to regain its bearings before heading out on its next adventure. We’re just happy we were able to get it and return it safely to where it belongs.”