Fort Saskatchewan resident Nancy Roberts scared off an owl trying to steal her dog on Tuesday night. (January 9).
Roberts was by the back door watching her 14-year-old dog Molly in the yard when the owl swooped in.
“The owl flew off and I ran out and I saw her kind of on her side, so I picked her up and I ran inside and was holding onto her and she was shaking pretty good,” said Roberts. “I put a little blanket on her and realized I had blood on my hands, so the owl had obviously got her.”
Molly had three talon marks from the owl trying to grab her, which required vet attention. She was on antibiotics and pain killers for three days.
Roberts said Molly is sore, unable to jump up on the couch and is now scared to go outside.
According to Dale Gienow, manager of wild rescue at Wild North Northern Alberta Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, the likely culprit was a Grey Horned Owl.
Tips to help keep an owl out of your back yard include going outside with your dog and installing deterrents to ward off owls, such as flags that blow in the wind or owl decoys.
"The kind of birds we're talking about are a protected species under the migratory bird act," noted Gienow. "That means there's nothing that we can physically do, it cannot be captured or removed from the area."
There's been at least two similar incidents in Strathcona County over the past couple months. Gienow said the number of reports about owls had gone up 45 per cent since October.
The rehabilitation centre has helped or rescued 32 owls, six different species, to date.
He attributed owls being more in trouble this year due to environmental conditions.