ULGHAM, England, May 21 (UPI) -- British bird sanctuaries said they are filling up with owls as Harry Potter-inspired pet owners get tired of the birds.
Pam Toothill, of the Owlcenter in Corwen, Wales, said she had only six of the birds prior to the release of the first Harry Potter film, but the number has since grown to 100 owls, The Mirror reported Monday.
"People saw Harry's owl in the movies and thought how cute and cuddly they looked. Now they are bored and fed-up with all the work involved looking after an owl," Toothill said.
Kim Olson, owner of the Sanctuary Wildlife Care Center in Ulgham, England, said many people have been illegally releasing their pet owls into the wild.
"When people saw Harry Potter loads of them wanted an owl. They've kept them in their shed or garage for a bit and now they've got bored and they hand them in to us," she said. "It's illegal to release an owl into the wild because they would take over from the native wild owls, but obviously a lot of people have ignored that law."
Harry Potter author JK Rowling has asked her fans to do the proper research before deciding to obtain an owl as a pet.
"If anybody has been influenced by my books to think an owl would be happiest shut in a small cage and kept in a house, I would like to take this opportunity to say as forcefully as I can, 'You are wrong,'" she said.