I was interviewed by The Sun newspaper about a sad case of a toddler injured in a park by a youth who was flying his Hawk.  Despite the bird landing on the child’s face and cutting it badly, the youth ran away although he has been traced.


It is tragic that this child was hurt, but hardly an “attack” and the inference that birds of prey are the new status pets is a bit far fetched.

I was then interviewed on the Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2 and asked the same question. No, I don’t think that they are the new status pets, young men have posed with them for many years.  But ownership of any animal is too easy in this country and there seem to be no consequences when owners are cruel, stupid, ignorant or irresponsible.

Another case I was asked to comment on to the papers was about a hawk attacking a terrier, damaging its tongue so badly that most is amputated and the dog is seriously ill and may lose his life.  Calls for the bird to be destroyed are in my opinion not appropriate.  I have been asked on a couple of forums to comment, here’s my response on DforDog forum:

 ” I can understand, as the dog was seriously injured, why the owner wanted the bird destroyed, but personally as terrible as this is, I don’t think that is appropriate.  Is there a way to protect your dogs from birds of prey? I think firstly lets get this in perspective. There are a huge number of birds of prey both wild and captive and stories like this are almost unheard of. I am more worried about my dogs being injured by other people’s out of control dogs.  Years ago I spoke to someone who exercises a small breed where there are Buzzards and Kites.  She said, to be safe, she gets her dogs to wear brightly coloured and/or reflective coats in the open areas.  She never had a problem, but  maybe she wouldn’t have anyway.
In the case discussed on the radio, the dog has serious tongue and mouth injuries, which makes me think that the dog saw the bird and grabbed at it as a bird is not going to grab the mouth of prey.  I see this as a sad and tragic accident.”

Be careful and vigilant anywhere you exercise your dog, but blame owner error, mistake or accident, not the animals.

About Safepets UK

Expert Witness behaviourist assessing dogs for court, treating cats and dogs. Covering Midlands to London and other areas.

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