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Homeowner Describes Officer as Gentle, Caring

A young owl ended up in a backyard pool in Temecula Wine Country early Tuesday and stayed there until a Riverside County Animal Services officer retrieved it.

Officer Kyle Stephens used a towel to safely scoop out the fledging from the pool of the property, located near Calle Contento and south of Pauba Road. Stephens transported it to the Southwest Communities Animal Shelter in Wildomar. Later Tuesday (May 15), a volunteer with Project Wildlife picked up the owl in Wildomar to get the rehabilitation process started. The bird of prey is believed to be a barn owl.

“It was just hanging out on one of the pool steps,” Officer Stephens said. “The homeowners put a towel near it, on the deck and into the pool, to see if it might claw its way out on its own.”

But the owl appeared too weak and very cold, he said. “It was shaking and it did not respond at all,” he said. “It looked as if it was dying. When I reached in to help it, it did not try to bite me or anything.”

Officer Stephens used a beach towel provided by the homeowners and also wore mechanic gloves to make sure he didn’t get bit. When he arrived to the shelter, he opened the compartment on his truck and said he was thrilled to notice the owl had “perked up” during the short drive. He said he was impressed it hadrecovered, considering it may have been in the pool a very long time.

Homeowner Betty Marks said the family was surprised to discover the owl early Tuesday at about 6 a.m. and tried to get it out themselves with the towel bridge.

“The poor thing was so cold and it was shivering,” Marks said. “We did not know how long it had stayed in there. But the officer was so gentle. He used the beach towel to cuddle it up and wrap it and make it so cozy. The officer was very sweet.”

Marks’ daughter, Julie Parsons, and her husband considered plucking the owl out themselves but they had some second thoughts, not knowing if the owl might attack them. “This is not a job for a civilian,” said Parsons, lightheartedly. “This is a job for a professional. I told my husband, ‘It might bite your face off.’”Marks and Parsons both said they were pleased to learn the owl was being cared for by a rehab specialist.

Contact a Shelter

Western Riverside: (951) 358-7387 (PETS)
San Jacinto: (951) 358-7387
Coachella Valley: (760) 343-3644
Blythe: (760) 921-7857

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