Owl deaths in Cave Creek could have been prevented, experts say

Owls were caught dying on camera, and animal experts say it's because they ate rats that were poisoned.

The video was taken at the patio of Lori Roark's home in Cave Creek. For the past five years, two owls would come to Roark's patio.

"We've been watching them for weeks, months, and you know, they would always land on our hot tub, hang out for a while before they go off and do their thing," said Roark.

On July 29, Roark noticed something was wrong.

"In the afternoon last Saturday, saw one owl dead. I thought was dead, not sure, on my patio," Roark recounted.

Roark immediately called the organization Wild At Heart to rescue the owl.

"We take in about 800 owls, hawks, vultures, eagles a year," said Wild At Heart Manager Beth Edwards. The goal is to hopefully rehab and release and that's our main goal."

While crews with Wild At Heart were at Roark's house, they found another sick owl that later died on the way to the rehab center. Wild At Heart volunteers believe the owl ate rats that were poisoned

"Those birds are going to be sent to the state veterinarian [with the] Arizona Game and Fish, so they will get confirmed that it's poisoning, and it's very highly probable," said Edwards.

Now, Roark is bringing awareness to a tragedy, after witnessing an owl fall from her hot tub to the ground.

"We're just sick over it, so I immediately notified my homeowner's association, so they sent a letter out to our entire subdivision to please not put out rat poison," said Roark.

Through awareness, Edwards said this could have been prevented.

"To avoid is to stop using rodenticides. Pest control companies keep saying there are safe rodenticides, they won't kill anything except the rat. If its strong enough to kill a rat, it's going to be strong enough to kill your dog, cat, bobcat, coyote, owl or a hawk," said Edwards.