Pet owners on alert after apparent Hinsdale hawk attacks

April 6, 2012 7:15:17 AM PDT
At least two people in the suburbs report large birds that appear to be hawks have attacked their small dogs.

One of the animals needed a lot of medical attention.

The attacks happened recently in Hinsdale.

Now, Jane Brooks is keeping a close eye on the skies and on her dog after a close encounter with what appeared to be a hawk.

"I just wanted people to know that they just need to be diligent," Brooks said. "Not only are coyotes going after our animals, but now hawks."

Tuesday, 5-year-old "Zsa Zsa" was in the backyard when Brooks and her family say a red-tailed hawk came swooping down on the 14-pound shih tzu.

The family managed to scare the bird away before Zsa Zsa was seriously hurt.

"I'm sure the bird thought Zsa Zsa was just a perfectly plump rabbit," said Brooks. "I think if we wouldn't have been out here, I think we would have found a dead animal."

Residents say hawks are a common sight around Hinsdale, but they have rarely caused problems, until now.

After contacting a local vet, police say they learned another dog in Hinsdale, a small Yorkie terrier, was also attacked by a hawk three weeks ago. That dog had to receive extensive medical treatment.

"This is a season of the year in which hawks tend to feed more," said Hinsdale Police Deputy Chief of Administration. "Traditionally, wildlife is a threat from the ground, but in this case this is a threat from above."

Police have now issued a community alert, reminding dog owners to keep pet food indoors and not rely on fences to keep their pets safe.

"The most important thing that anybody can do if they have a small animal is to make sure they don't leave it unattended," Wodka said.

Since Tuesday, Jane Brooks has been heeding that advice.

"We're watching her (Zsa Zsa) a hawk," Brooks said.