Pets in north Scottsdale have recently been attacked on the ground by predators. Now it appears small dogs and cats are under aerial assault as well.
A McDowell Mountain Ranch woman is warning neighbors about the death of her toy poodle Quiche Lorraine, killed last week by a great horned owl or hawk.
“I’ve heard horror stories from my neighbors about coyotes, but never about hawks or owls,” Lori Brooke said.
Brooke said her 8-pound poodle went outside in her fenced back yard when it was killed sometime before dawn July 11.
“I woke up and found her. She had several puncture wounds in her neck and stomach,” Brooke said.
Dr. Beth Hareski of Horizon Animal Hospital said talon marks on the dog’s body indicated it was killed by a predatory bird.
“Most likely it was a great horned owl that lives in the area and was looking for something to eat,” said James Driscoll, a nongame bird biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “Any type of small animal can be thought of as food by these birds.”
The most dangerous time for small pets to be outside is at night, Driscoll said, when owls and hawk forage for food.
“If you are going to let them out . . . then go out there with them and keep an eye on them,” he said. “Don’t let them out alone, because they can become prey.”
Brooke, who lives in the Discovery Canyon subdivision, said she has been handing out warning fliers to neighbors.
“I hope other people will listen and take it seriously,” Brooke said. “Too many people move here and don’t realize we have predatory animals and birds in our neighborhoods. I was one of those.”