Neighbors Upset After Car Dealership Parks Vehicles on Lot Where Burrowing Owls Nest

VACAVILLE -- Neighbors and environmentalists are furious with a Vacaville car dealership after dozens of vehicles were parked on a city-owned lot where burrow owls are known to nest. They claim the move is putting the birds at risk, but the dealership says it's doing everything they can to ensure the birds are fine.

Burrowing owls have sort of become the unofficial bird of Vacaville.

"The burrowing owl colony is a symbol of that small town feel and a lot of the community members just treasure them," said resident Ellen Fawl.

When Fawl and her husband noticed cars parked on a field that houses one of their favorite colonies, she knew she had to take action. So she called the Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Dealership.

"And I was left on hold, left on hold, left on hold," Fawl said.

The receptionist was supposed to be getting the manager.

"I called back and I said 'hey, maybe I got disconnected,' and the receptionist was like, 'oh yeah, I already talked to the manager, he says they won't be there long.' And I'm like there's baby owls in there or there's eggs in there," Fawl said.

The dealership is getting its parking lot repaved, which is why the cars were moved to the field over the weekend.

A manager inside declined to give FOX40 an on camera interview, but he says the dealership got permission from the city to park on the land.

He also said employees are leaving a buffer space between where they believe the nests are and where they're parking the cars.

"Just because you have the right, doesn't make it right," Fawl said.

However, while our cameras were rolling, a car drove right over some of the nests we found and just a few seconds later, one of the owls landed to return.

"They know what's going on over there, they've been told enough, so I'm very upset with the cavalier attitude," Fawl said.

Fawl said she's since contacted the city, the Department of Fish and Game and several burrowing owl conservatories. But the process to take action have been slow.

"Time is of the essence, please move!" Fawl said.

The paving job is supposed to be finished Monday night, so the car dealership says all the cars will be out of the area by Tuesday.