Major County couple tries to nurse two barn owls back to health

Major County couple tries to nurse two barn owls back to health

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FAIRVIEW - A Major County couple tried their best to nurse two barn owls back to good health.

In the end oil from an uncovered tank may be have been the culprit.

The landowner where the tanks are kept found the two barn owls covered in oil and immediately alerted authorities, but time simply wasn't on their side. Jean Neal can't talk about the two barn owls she tried to save without getting emotional.

"They were just covered with black oil, they were just totally covered," Neal said.

It was around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday night when their local game warden Lt. Frank Huebert knocked on the front door with two barn owls he had recovered from an oil field site on the county line.

Neal who has a state license for animal care couldn't turn down an opportunity to help. Mayonnaise and dish detergent are she what relied on to try and clean the barn owls.

"At a point you have to stop because you don't to traumatize the owl anymore, " Neal said.

By Thursday it clear one of the barn owls was ready to say goodbye.

"I was surprised that it lasted as long as it did," Neal said.

On Saturday, her husband Jim says the second barn owl had also had enough.

"Finally it just went to a shallow panting and it was a little after six o'clock when it passed away," Neal said.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission Oil and Gas Division has given the oil operators until August 23rd to clean up their site where the barn owls where found.

"A lot of the newer tanks are made with a cover to go over top and that takes care of the problem," Lt. Frank Huebert said.

Lt. Huebert is also assisting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with their federal investigation to see if any laws were broken.

"They will go through the evidence that they have and determine what birds are really there, other than we know these two barn owls, they may be some other birds involved and they will make a determination as to how they proceed," said Lt. Huebert.

FOX 25 reached out to the oil operators under investigation to see if they had a comment, but so far we have not heard back from them.
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