When Owls Attack: Boxer Saves Tiny Dog From Rare Aerial Assault

Experts believe the rodent-loving bird's normal predatory instincts were impaired by an accident.


flying owl, flying great horned owl, great horned owl in flight
Great horned owls can stand up to two feet high with wingspans of up to five feet. (Photo: Getty / David Ponton)

Ramadi is one lucky dog. The seven-pound shih-poo (a shih-tzu and miniature poodle cross) was nearly kidnapped by a great horned owl over the holidays, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Ramadi’s guardian, Amy Evans, who’d just returned home from a tour of Iraq, was visiting her father, Patrick Evans, in Pinigree Grove, Illinois. Ramadi was playing with Patrick Evans’ other dogs, a Rottweiler named Eli and a 70-pound boxer named Sadie.

Hearing a commotion in the yard, Patrick Evans went outside to break up what he assumed was a dog fight.

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“When I came out the door I saw Sadie on top of something and thought it must be another dog, but it was really dark, so I couldn’t see,” Evans said.

When Evans called Eli, little Ramadi ran after him, and Sadie the Boxer ran in hot pursuit of Ramadi.

“Suddenly I realized an owl had its talons sunk into Ramadi and Sadie was trying to get it off of her,” Evans said. “When they got to the door we were able to separate Sadie from the owl and my wife pinned the owl to the ground with her foot as I ran to get some gloves.”

As Evans worked to free the bird’s deadly talons from Ramadi’s fur, the owl turned its head all the way around and fixed Evans and his wife with an intense stare.

“It really freaked us out.”

When the police arrived, the perpetrator had not yet left the premises. “The owl stood outside the sliding glass door looking at the smaller dog as if he wasn’t leaving without it," a local police offer recalled.

After the owl was transported to Willowbrook Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center, the staff found that it had suffered severe injuries. Sandy Fejt, the education site manager at Willowbrook, reckons the bird had been hit by a car. “Most of the time [owls] want nothing to do with humans or dogs,” said Fejt. “With its sight impaired, it was probably very hungry and looking for easy prey.”

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“Our veterinarian found its body mass index very low and its eye extremely infected,” Fejt said. 

Although the bird was eventually euthanized, it left a powerful legacy. Authorities believe the owl that tried to snatch Ramadi is responsible for two other attempted dog attacks in Pinigree Grove the week before. Great horned owls are common in Illinois, where they are protected from hunting, removal and commercial trade by the Federal Migratory Bird Act.

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You animal activists are retards, the dog was also an ANIMAL!! The article says that the owl was already hit by a car, which problably caused legitimate brain damage. They said it was EVENTUALLY put down, not IMMEDIATELLY, which means that they tried their best and gave it some time. Stop criticizing the dogs owner- you would have done the same thing if it was your dog. If you are going to fight against animal abuse- finish high school first.
Owl was just trying to eat. shame on you guys for mortally wounding that awesome bird for a flea bitten mongrel
I had a bunch of barn cats get killed by eagles. I assumed that coyotes were getting them until I realized it was eagles. We had a pair of eagles that we would see often in the highest branches of of a giant oak tree near our home site which was on top of a big hill overlooking a 40 acre pasture. They were beautiful with the early morning sun lighting up their plumage so I hated to scare them away. Finally, when our big Tom cat showed up at the house badly wounded with sharp deep cuts on his side I decided to act and fired a round near the pair and they never came back.
This reminds me of something that happened to me about 45 years ago in the eastern mountains of Pennsylvinia. I was outside late at night at my cousins farm. We would go out late to watch the owls and bats as there was a lot of them in that area. Their pet rat-terrior was attacked by a snowy owl, it stood on the ground holding the dog down, I was well over 2 foot tall. I ran up to it thinking it would be scared and fly off, boy was I WRONG!!! The owl instead of flying off, attacked me. I had long hair and the thing got tangled in my hair, it started to bite me, I still have the scars on my shoulders from the thing biting me. It took my uncle a good half hour to get it untangled from my hair while he was wearing leather welders gloves. Needless to say, he had to hack of one heck of a lot of my hair. All if the same time, he wanted to prevent hurting the owl. Heck with the fact the owl took chunks out of me and I had blood running all down my back and chest. Anyway, he got the owl untangled but my hair had it's feet tied together so he took it in the house in the light, covered its head with a towel and cut my hair from the owls legs. We took it back outside and let it go. It stayed in the area for as long as I can remember, I mean years as it lived in the woods near their farm, but it NEVER came toward the farm again like it sort of said, OK, I attcked you, you did not hurt me, you saved me so I will not attack you again. Like I said, it stayed in the area but never attacked anyone or any of the animals again on his farm. It would stand in a tree and stare at us as if to say, "Thanks for not killing me and I will always watch over you people from here on out. I do not know how long it remained in the area as I left for Viet Nam and when I returned a few years later, it was gone
"Great horned owls are common in Illinois." Great horned owls are common all over the freaking country, for chrissake. They are common throughout North America, and through most of South America.
Maybe the owl just said," You cain't make me go to rehab, I say 'No, no no!"
@Diane, it was TOO DARK to see into the yard, which may indicate that the owl was hunting at night.
It never ceases to amaze me,how terrible people (who are supposed to be civilized)are willing to treat each other,over an issue of this nature. Often,they will bring politics on some level aboard to make valid their point,Which is completely un-necessary. If we just look at that facts,we can leave our most humble comments,without harming anyone in the process. Fact 1,The people in the story,are pet owners.Generally pet owners are animal loving in nature.Not out to harm any species.(despite opinions). Fact 2,For a Horned Owl,to be hunting during the day chances are it was already injured prior to attacking even a small dog.(simple logic). Fact 3,Story states, Owl was taken to a"REHABILITATION" CENTER.If anything could have been done to save the owl.More than likely it would have been done. If we leave all the I KNOW MORE THAN YOU KNOW,or I AM A REAL ANIMAL LOVER & YOU'RE NOT'S ,out of this.All that really needs to be said is, the bigger dog that actually rescued the smaller dog,is a Animal Hero.Not often do we find ourselves taking on an unknown enemy for a fellow human being.Not often can it be said we as human beings, are willing to fight to the death for something to eat. Not yet anyway.....
@romangabriel: What to do? Save a protected attacker or my companion animal who sees me as protector? Sorry dude, I'd choose my dog over anything, everytime.
They should have contacted Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland so that the owl could have a chance at surviving. I'm a tree hugging liberal and proud of it. How do you expect to sustain ecosystems without the wildlife and trees that keep the ecosystem balanced and healthy. Apex predator species occupy the highest trophic level(s) and have a crucial role in maintaining the health of their ecosystems. Some animals may be superpredators in some environments but not others, such as domestic dogs and cats, both of which can ravage ecosystems. Apex predators affect prey species' population dynamics. Where two competing species are in an ecologically unstable relationship, apex predators tend to create stability if they prey upon both. Inter-predator relationships are also affected by apex status. Keystone species are apex predators within functional groups.Primary or apex predators can actually benefit prey populations by suppressing smaller predators, and failure to consider this mechanism has triggered collapses of entire ecosystems. Is your dog a family member as he should be or do you leave him outdoors in the cold night and consider him as wildlife? Who belongs outdoors at all times your dog or the owl?
Terrible story.... The Owl needed rehab not death!
Terrible story.... The Owl needed rehab not death!
Maybe You do not know enough about this story nor does the writer to make an edumucated comment:(
Bottom line, both the owl and the dog have a right to exist. Co-exist as the bumper sticker says. The owners should have been right by their dogs side, as their protectors. That's what it means to have pets!
People, take a closer read of this article. The owl was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center. If they could have saved it, they would have saved it. Everyone acted as they should in this story. The dog's owners freed the dog from the owl, and they tried to help the owl by seeking professional care. No bad guys. No, not even the owl.
romangabriel...I seriously hope you never have or plan on owning a pet. What if your camping and a bear comes and attacks you, are you just going to do nothing because that is what the bear knows? Your an idiot. Wendymaddy and Jan Van Dusen_1...glad to get information from you two seeing how you must of been there......it was wild and dangerous obviously. Just because it attacked a SMALL dog doesn't mean it could hunt. That owl may of been there for a while and just spotted the chance at the dog. Sounds like you guys should team together and open your own shelter, see how hard it really is. It's not all fun and games, saving animals lives. When it comes down to costs, I would rather spend money on someone's pet than a stupid owl that tried to kill someones pet.
I totally agree with Wendymaddy. The shelter director and vet are such jerks not to have treated the owl's eye infection and nursed the owl back to health. If it was strong enough to continue to hunt, it would have recovered with decent care, and not even particularly invasive. All animal control knows how to do is kill! It should be illegal for them to call themselves "shelters." Those people should be fired and that agency disbanded.
I agree that while wildlife sometimes needs help sometimes an animal is too badly injured and euthanasia is the only solution. And yes, protected animal or not I would not hesitate to save my own pets from attack. However, this has nothing to do with a poster's political leanings and I find it offensive to hear another poster call someone a liberal because they don't agree with their post. Liberals and conservatives have varrying attitudes about lots of subjects and their political leanings have little or nothing to do with it.
To romangabriel; Yeah you're right, that was wrong. I would have just shot the bird if it had dug it's talons into my dog.
i am disgusted that the shelter made no attempt to save the owl's life but euthanized it instead! dirty rats! what lazy, contemptible people! it was capable of gaining weight and recovering from an eye infection! obviously it flew over to the dog and was strong enough to cause concern about it flying away with the dog. what jerks!
You Liberals are to stupid to be let out of the house. You have no earthly concept of reality.
So what do you think these people were supposed to do? Just let the owl kill their dog while they watched? Are you nuts? Would you stand by and watch a coyote attack a young child just because it was "trying to survive the best way it knew how"? Dogs are NOT wild animals simply part of the food chain. They rely on their owners to protect them. You may not be a dog person but that doesn't mean you have the right to insult owners who were trying to protect their pet.
Putting your foot on a magnificent bird such as a Horned Owl and ripping at his claws was animal abuse. This beautiful bird deserved better than having some dim witted dog owners put the bird into shock after it was trying to survive the best way it new how.
Kinda wonder if the "injuries" that were sustained weren't from the people stomping on it trying to get it off the dog? Just sayin is all.......