Oliver couple claims raptor snatched dog from backyard; raptor rehab facility says attack would be extremely rare

Steve Forrester and his rescue dog, Angel, share an unbreakable bond. The Oliver, B.C., resident suffered a workplace injury a few years ago and his mobility is limited.

“I got severe depression and the little dog we thought we were rescuing ended up rescuing me,” he said.

His wife, Tammy, said Angel is his around-the-clock companion.

“They have an unconditional love; she doesn’t leave his side,” she said.

However, the five-year-old Chihuahua is lucky to be alive after a brutal attack in its own backyard.

The Forresters said the seven-pound pet was left unattended for only minutes on Saturday morning when they discovered her bleeding.

The pooch was rushed to Fairfield Animal Hospital in Kelowna and underwent emergency surgery.

The couple said Angel suffered a broken rib, puncture wounds and deep lacerations.

“One was so deep that it allowed her bowel to come out of her body,” Steve Forrester said.

The pair believe the culprit was a hungry raptor.

“They were pretty quick to tell me it was from above, for sure,” he said.

The SORCO raptor rehabilitation centre in Oliver said there are numerous birds of prey in the south Okanagan.

“Great horned owls are the most common, so yes we have a large raptor population in the valley,” manager Dale Belvedere said.

However, Belvedere said an attack on a house pet is extremely rare.

“Very rarely do they go for anything more than a large rodent or rabbit or things like that,” she said.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Fairfield Animal Hospital issued a brief statement by email that said “we have spoken to the doctor who saw this patient, and she feels that the wounds around the abdomen indicate it was more likely an attack by a coyote or large dog, however we cannot rule out a bird of prey as no one saw the incident.”

The Forresters are warning other pet owners to take extra precautions.

“If telling people this story will just get them to keep that little extra eye on their dog, or their cat, or their little animal, because if it could happen to my family, I never want to see another family go through this,” Steve Forrester said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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