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Meet Winky, the burglar owl taxing the rich residents of Oak Bay by trashing fancy homes

Welcome to Oak Bay, a picturesque suburban coastal community located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, known for its peaceful streets of elegant homes and gardens, smart boutiques and art galleries, fancy delis, and lively cafes.

More recently however, the Canadian municipality has been plagued by a relentless terrorist going by the name Winky. The hooligan’s sole mission in life? To prove that even the best-protected house can be undermined at any moment, that a fancy mansion does not truly belong to the person whose name is on the deed. Oh, and I almost forgot the best part about this modern-day, Robin Hood-inspired tale—Winky’s an owl.

In a CTV News segment that aired on Tuesday 15 November 2022, reporter Jordan Cunningham described how the Oak Bay Police Department was first called to the “upscale neighbourhood” at 4 am Thursday 10 November after a frightened resident called 911 to report that an owl had broken into their home.

Winky—who has since been identified as a male owl, it appears—was photographed during his crime, looking straight into the camera, his remorseless stare still obvious even though he squinted one eye, which has now become his trademark pose. The picture also showed the winged criminal digging his talons into what a police constable described as “a very expensive leather couch.”

Despite the fact that Winky is only nine inches tall and about 800 grams (1.7 pounds) in weight, clips included in the segment showed that the police were unable to stop such a powerful force of nature. Instead, officers were seen moving around the victim’s house poking at Winky with brooms and (poorly) attempting to wrap him up in a blanket.

Although one officer admitted that they had found these owl-catching tactics on Google, I’m convinced that, had they been experts on the topic, they still wouldn’t have managed to capture the talented creature. After playing with the state’s authorities, Winky eventually “walked out the patio doors” on his own. But this was not the end of the owl’s reign of terror.

On Sunday 13 November, the police were called once more after it was found that Winky had ransacked another home in the peaceful area. This time, he tore pictures from the walls, knocked over lamps and vases, and taunted officers in an even more disrespectful manner than the last, perching on a fancy chandelier and looking down on the residents as they cleaned his mess.

In what I like to think of as an effort to show that his violence is aimed at material wealth, not individuals—Robin Hood, remember—Winky allowed himself to be pet before flying away from the scene of his second crime.

Though a third crime is yet to be committed, when he undoubtedly returns for another break-in, Oak Bay Police Department better read up on owl-catching techniques beforehand because Winky’s clearly not your typical barn owl.

30 dead dogs and cats found in animal rescue CEO’s home that had ‘smell of death’

At least 30 decomposing carcasses of dogs and cats, found in crates and cages, were recovered from the home of an animal rescue director in South Carolina, after US officials received a call about a “smell of death” coming from the property.

Caroline Dawn Pennington, 47, chief executive and director of a nonprofit animal rescue company named GROWL, was arrested on Friday 3 June after turning herself in, said the Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD).

Officials found 28 dogs and two cats dead in Pennington’s house. According to investigators and as stated by USA Today, “the animals had been dead for a long time and likely died from starvation and dehydration.”

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott called the discovery appalling and heartbreaking, and said it was one of the worst cases of animal cruelty he had ever seen. “This is someone who was entrusted by the community to care for these animals and find them homes,” Lott said. “She betrayed that trust and she betrayed the trust of these innocent animals who relied on her.”

In addition to GROWL, Pennington was also employed by the Kershaw County Humane Society at the time of her arrest. She was also a well-known figure in the animal rescue community.

After turning herself in, Pennington was booked at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center and charged with 30 counts of ill treatment of animals. She has since been released on a $75,000 surety bond, Sergeant Brittany Hart of RCSD said Monday 6 June.

Anyone who has made documented donations to GROWL in the last 12 months is asked to contact the sheriff’s department.