The Italian Almanac


Pet Owl

An owl adopted by an elderly Italian couple 14 years ago has been confiscated because it is a protected species. The couple found the tawny owl as a fledgling when it fell from a nest in the northern Italian mountains and brought it up as a pet. ``It was part of the family. It roamed free in the house. We never put it in a cage. It used to play with our cat and dog, nibble biscuits, fall asleep in its little wooden house,`` said the 70-year-old couple. ``It was such a good companion for us. We`re desperate``.

The owl has been taken to a wildlife sanctuary and the couple may face criminal charges. The tawny owl is fairly common in Europe but is on international conservationist lists, in the Least Concern category.