Here's my reply to a reader who found a barred owl in her backyard:
Yes, that's indeed a Barred Owl, a rather common owl where you live but not commonly seen because it occupies the temporal zone of the night when people are asleep.
I normally do several articles on owls, the last one was this past October and was about Great Horned Owls. You can read it at here.
Owls get unfairly blamed for the disappearance of small pets. It's really coyotes that are getting the pets. (Yes, our urban and suburban neighborhoods have coyotes.) For an owl to pick off a small pet, the pet would have to be the size of a rat or small rabbit. But pet owners should never leave a small pet or any pet outdoors by itself at night or during the day. Packs of wild dogs also roam neighborhoods, and larger feral cats roaming can harm defenseless house pets. Pet dogs and pet cats should be kept indoors and only let out on a leash for their safety and health. (It's a lesson I learned the hard way.)
Owls go after rats and other rodents, which is a good thing or else we'd be overrun with those vermin.