HOUSTON – A barred owl whose leg was caught in a steel-jaw leghold trap was being nursed back to health at The Wildlife Center of Texas on Thursday.
A family in Richmond found the owl on Wednesday. They said he was struggling to drink water out of their swimming pool and was incredibly emaciated.
When the owl was brought to the center, veterinarians said he was in excruciating pain.
They said he had probably been carrying the trap around for a long time, which made it impossible for him to hunt for food.
Fortunately, the wildlife experts at the center were able to remove the trap in a matter of minutes.
The owl was sent to the ICU, where he was receiving pain medication, antibiotics and fluids on Thursday.
The Wildlife Center of Texas, an affiliate of the Houston SPCA, said they hope the owl can be released back into the wild once he’s healthy. If not, he’ll either join the center as an education ambassador or be place in a sanctuary where he can live out the remainder of his life in comfort.
Steel-jaw leghold traps have been declared inhumane by both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association, but they’re still commonly used in the United States.
Experts estimate that millions of non-target animals are caught in the traps every year, some of which chew their own limbs off in a bid to free themselves.
Over 80 other nations have banned the steel-jaw leghold trap.