CLARK, NJ – When the emergency call came in on Saturday that an owl had gotten tangled in a soccer net at Arthur L. Johnson, John Pingor headed to the scene. 

 Pingor a member of Clark’s Fire Department and the Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds for Clark Schools took no time getting involved in rescuing the Great Horned Owl.    Pingor enlisted ALJ’s Athletic Trainer Jonathan Renelle to help him cut the owl out of the net while they waited for an assist by animal control.

Concerned that the raptor might try to attack them, Pingor took precautions before they tried to help the animal.   “I put my water bottle by the owl’s mouth to see if it was going to go after us,” said Pingor.  “It didn’t, so we got started.”

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Sporting welding gloves to protect them from the sharp talons, the two men set to work holding the animal steady and cutting the net.  “It felt pretty good, like an adrenaline rush, to help this animal,” said Pingor.

The duo was joined by an animal rescue worker before completing the disentanglement.  According to Pingor, the animal rescue worker speculated the owl probably swooped down to capture prey and got tangled in the net during flight.  The injured owl was taken to the Raptor Trust, a private, non-profit, wild bird rehabilitation center in Millington, NJ.    

A representative of the Raptor Trust identified as Barbara reported that the owl was being treated and is in very guarded condition.   “It has swelling from its shoulder to its wrist.  We have been giving it fluids and applying a fresh wrap to the wing each day,” said Barbara.  

The raptor will continued to be monitored by staff and veterinarians over the next week as swelling decreases to determine next steps.  Updates to the owl's condition will be published as possible.   

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