OCONOMOWOC -- The two teens accused of stealing Dakota, a great-horned owl, from the non-profit Oconomowoc Wildlife In Need Center, were sentenced to 18 months of probation on Wednesday, August 29th..
17-year-old Dilan White, and 18-year-old Matthew Kuhlemeyer were accused of taking Dakota from the Wildlife in Need Center in November 2011. Officials tracked the teens down after one of their friends posted a picture of the owl on Facebook. The teens say Dakota flew away when they were at a friend’s house in Dousman.
Center officials say during Dakota’s three weeks in the wild, he lost 27 percent of his body weight, eliminating not only his fat reserves, but also moving on to deteriorate his muscle tissue as well. A veterinarian who performed an examination on Dakota the day he was rescued determined Dakota is slightly anemic, and was dehydrated. The veterinarian also performed a fecal test, which ruled out any potential parasites that his already weakened system would have needed to fight off during his recovery.
The Wildlife in Need Center says Dakota's recovery was complete in February. Dakota spent his life in captivity, and required weeks of rehabilitation after he was finally found.