ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke is working to rehabilitate an Eastern Screech-Owl it says was found in ‘deplorable’ conditions as part of a drug sting.

Sabrina Garvin, the group’s executive director, says the owl – protected by the federal government – is underweight, cannot fly due to its injured wings, and has a damaged beak.

“And it’s just bloody, where he was trying to get out of the cage,” she said, referencing the beak.

She says this case is a unique one.

“No. We’ve had unusual cases but not a drug bust in a house, especially a meth house, because of how dangerous that is for even the deputies to go into,” she said.

Garvin’s group knows virtually nothing about the bird’s history. The main concern now is its respiratory system, which can be irritated by as little as a scented candle.

“Drugs and wildlife- it’s sort of connected because it’s money,” she said.

Garvin says the center has received other illegally-kept animals before which, due to the volume or money involved, it cannot publicize out of concern for its staff’s safety.