Dog Attacked by Hawk in Wallin Woods

Plainfield residents believe their 6-pound Yorkie narrowly escaped being snatched up by a hawk on Sunday night.

Bozzie the Yorkie narrowly escaped the clutches of a hawk Sunday night in Plainfield. Credit: McGill family
Bozzie the Yorkie narrowly escaped the clutches of a hawk Sunday night in Plainfield. Credit: McGill family
Bozzie the Yorkshire terrier is one lucky dog, according to owners Sandi and Keith McGill.

The six-pound pet was attacked by a hawk right outside the family's back door in the Wallin Woods subdivision Sunday night, suffering puncture wounds to his neck, chest and leg. 

But it could have been much worse, according to the McGills. 

Keith said the family pooch had his front paws up on the sliding glass door and was waiting to be let inside. Keith said he was at the door and about to slide it open when the hawk swooped down.

"I couldn't see the dog, I could just see this black thing," Keith said, adding the bird had its wings spread as it grabbed the small dog. "I didn't even know what it was — something had jumped on him."

Keith believes the hawk struck the glass door — which may have been Bozzie's saving grace.

"I don't think it hit the glass head on," but the blow appeared to be enough to stun the hawk, he said. Keith said as he ran outside, yelling, the hawk flew away.

"He went flying away, and Bozzie went whimpering around the side of the house," Keith said. The incident happened at around 6 p.m., according to the couple.

The family rushed Bozzie to the emergency vet. Fortunately, the dog's wounds were superficial, and he came home with a prescription for antibiotics.

"We got really lucky," Sandi said. "I think had the hawk not hit the glass door, we wouldn't have a dog."

The couple said they warned their neighbors, who also have a small dog, and want other Plainfield-area residents to be on the alert.

"Our concern was that it didn't carry another dog away," Keith said.

The couple said they've noticed hawks in the neighborhood before, but worried more about ground predators like coyotes.

"When my husband started screaming, that's the first thing I thought, that it was a coyote," Sandi said. 

The couple said they were stunned by the boldness of the attack.

"This hawk was really aggressive," Sandi said. "We never thought this could happen."

Other attacks reported

Incidents similar to the Wallin Woods attack have been reported in recent years in the Chicago area.

In May, Darien Patch blogger Sue Jasulaitis shared her story when her pet, a four-month-old French bulldog, was nearly carried off by a hawk.

The smaller dog was playing with an adult English mastiff, but even the much-bigger dog didn't deter the bird of prey— nor did the presence of several people sitting nearby, according to Jasulaitis.

"Both dogs were resting within a few feet of where we were sitting," Jasulaitis wrote. "A hawk swooped down towards our Frenchie. He came within 4 feet or so of attacking her. Thankfully, our daughter was able to scare it off by flailing her arms and legs to cover the pup."

In April 2012, at least two small dogs were reportedly attacked in Hinsdale, with one dog requiring extensive medical treatment.  

Rescue group SOAR (Save Our American Raptors) Illinois warns that raptors — birds of prey such as hawks, owls, falcons, eagles and vultures — can pose a threat to small pets. Puppies, small dogs, cats and caged pet birds can be at risk outdoors, according to SOAR's website.

"Pet owners must realize that raptors are opportunists, just like coyote, foxes, and all other wild predators," SOAR warns. "It is the pet owner's responsibility to keep their small companion animals safe."

The risk is even greater during the winter when food becomes scarce — a factor the McGills believe came into play in Bozzie's attack. While the couple was at the emergency vet, they said another pet owner brought in a dog that was believed to have been attacked by a coyote.

"The animals seem to be on the prowl," Sandi said.

SOAR warns pet owners against leaving small animals unattended outside, and advises keeping pets in a fully enclosed pen or dog run.

The McGills said they intend to keep a close watch on Bozzie, and plan to make sure he's on a leash at all times when outside.

Keith said he believes if Bozzie had been in the middle of the yard and not right at the door when he was attacked, the story could have had a much worse ending.

"We got really, really lucky," Sandi said.

Have you noticed hawks or other predators in your neighborhood? Tell us in the comments.

Grace Toledo January 21, 2014 at 07:52 AM
Had a hawk sitting on the back yard fence Sunday afternoon.
Dan B January 21, 2014 at 12:59 PM
If you have a dog that can be picked up by a hawk, it is not a real dog.
Roy Rumaner January 21, 2014 at 03:03 PM
A few years ago a hawk took a small dog from a backyard in Four Pointes in Aurora while the owner was standing there.
MH January 21, 2014 at 04:50 PM
My Westie was almost attacked by a hawk a few weeks back. She also was by the back door waiting to come in. It had landed on the roof right above her and I got her in just in time. Fortunately, I saw its shadow come over a window as it was landing. She was pretty upset and came in right away. For several weeks it was out in front of my house every morning at the same time on a light pole. It's unfortunate that I have to leash her in a fenced yard.
Mike Schmitz January 22, 2014 at 04:58 PM
We have a 4 and a 7 lb Chihuahua, we live right off Joseph and 59, seen 2 Coyotes on 2 separate occasions (2 both times) running at a pretty good clip through the area behind the lake. Always seeing hawks and owls over there.


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