Great Horned Owl Linda recaptured after break-in, back at Baraboo zoo

The Ochsner Park Zoo has recovered both missing owls following an overnight break-in.
The Ochsner Park Zoo has recovered both missing owls following an overnight break-in.(Baraboo Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department)
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 9:37 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2022 at 10:17 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The last animal that went missing after a break-in at a Baraboo zoo earlier this month has been recaptured and is back home, the city’s parks department announced Tuesday night.

Linda, a Great Horned Owl, will need to have a full veterinary check-up, according to a Facebook post from the Baraboo Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department.

The department explained that an Ochsner Park Zoo intern was able to capture Linda on 9th Street, which is near the zoo, with help from police.

The zoo said in a separate Facebook post that it would provide more details soon about Linda’s safe return.

Linda was one of four animals that went missing after a break-in at the zoo during the overnight hours of June 7. Two otters, Mitch and Moe, were spotted by kayakers on the same day as the break-in and were located shortly after. Linda’s fellow owl, Jerry, was found safe three days after the break-in with two fractures in his wing.

According to Ochsner Park Zoo specialist Ellen Gallagher, police believe the suspect or suspects’ primary motivation in the break-in was to release the animals. Multiple other cages were opened when staff arrived at the zoo on June 7, but the animals in other cages were still present.

Baraboo Police Department investigators identified Aaron Wayne Hovis as the suspect accused of damaging the locks on several animal exhibits at Ochsner Park Zoo and damaging the door on another exhibit. The police department has referred a count of misdemeanor criminal damage to property to the Sauk Co. District Attorney’s Office, which could decide to press further charges as warranted.

Baraboo Police Dept. Lt. Ryan La Broscian confirmed Wednesday morning that Hovis was in custody in Indiana for charges in that state. The charge he faces in Wisconsin is non-extraditable.

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