The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department says they have made two arrests in the case of Dakota, the stolen owl, but the owl is still missing. Dakota is a great-horned owl, and is the heart and soul of the non-profit Oconomowoc Wildlife In Need Center - a wildlife center that is dedicated to healing animals. Saturday night, an individual or a group stole the beloved mascot and teaching tool, and also tried taking a turkey, and destroyed the roof of a pen. The center's animal care director says Dakota the owl is by far, the biggest loss.
Animal Care Director Cheryl Diehl noticed Sunday morning that the facility's lock was in tact, but the door had been pried open. Upon entering the facility, Diehl noticed Dakota missing, and damage to a pen.
"He is our main educational ambassador that we use for most of our programs," Diehl said.
The center normally rescues, rehabs and releases all kinds of animals, but Dakota is too domesticated to set free. Dakota doesn't know how to hunt, and doesn't know how to interact with other owls. His best friend is a human, Lisa Kiehl, Dakota's handler at the shelter.
"It's devastating. We lost a member of our family, and I've lost a colleague I've worked with and who has visited more than 80,000 people. Quite frankly, I'm cried out. I'm hitting a very angry stage, that someone could come in and grab a helpless animal," Kiehl said.
Many of the lives that Dakota has touched are those of young school children.
If you have any information regarding Dakota's whereabouts, you're asked to call the Waukesha County Sheriff's office at 262-548-7126.