Pet owners in New Jersey are growing alarmed over increasing hawk attacks on dogs, and some have gotten so concerned they've taken to bringing air horns and animal repellent sprays when they walk their dogs.
Brick Township resident Amy Olsen said she found a badly injured cat wandering in her backyard six weeks ago. It appeared the cat, now named Bean, had been lifted into the air and then dropped from above, leaving her hip broken, and her front legs and paws likely permanently damaged.
"Probably the hawk picked her up, and she put up a fight and then he dropped her in my yard," said Olsen.
The vet counted at least three puncture wounds where an eagle or hawk had sunk its talons into Bean's back. Bean is doing better but does have some small marks on her back, and the vet said she may have issues walking her whole life because was dropped from up high.
Concerns about birds of prey targeting pets are growing in both Ocean and Monmouth counties. A medium-sized dog in Aberdeen was recently attacked by a hawk and needed stitches, prompting the vet to put out a Facebook warning to all pet owners.
Christine Newman of Toms River posted her own warning on Facebook after three hawks followed her and her seven-pound dog Snowball on their evening stroll last week.
"I saw they were coming in for a closer look at Snowball," she said. "I picked him up and ran him back home."
"Be careful," she added. "If the hawk is taking an interest in your pet, move them indoors."
Vets say supervising pets closely, not feeding them outside and walking more than one dog at once can help stop birds of prey from getting too close.