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.
MORE: Clip of the Day- Italian Model Shows Why You Shouldn't Leave Your Dog in the Car
“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.”
MORE: Penguins to Humans "You're Stressing us Out"
“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.
Related Stories on Takepart
• Bears Hunt for Salmon on Alaska Live Camera
• Romance More Likely to Kill You Than Shark Attack
• Firefighters Rescue 900lb Drowning Pig