Hawk attacks pet dog in couple's backyard

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A hawk swooped down and attacked a couple's pet Chihuahua, causing them to have to put him to sleep.

"I'm thinking, this is not happening, this is just a dream," said pet owner Dustin Stallings.

But it wasn't a dream, it was a nightmare for Stallings and his finance Cara Arnold.

Arnold says she let her dogs out to go to the bathroom.

Stallings was going into work, and told Arnold to go outside and take pictures of the hawk in their backyard.

But, it was only a matter of minutes before Arnold realized she needed to rush her dog to the animal clinic.

"I called Dustin and I was like I think this bird has our dog," said Arnold.

"Sure enough I walked up there and it was our dog being attacked by this hawk," said Stallings.

Stallings and Arnold say they still can't believe the large bird attacked their pet Chihuahua.

"This couldn't be real you know," said Stallings. "This is stuff like in movies, you wouldn't think you'd see this stuff in real life especially in downtown Cape."

Surveillance video from the apartment complex shows the dog running and playing.

Arnold says she always lets the dogs out, and they come right back.

"He came upstairs first, and that's not normal, she always came upstairs first," said Stallings talking about their other dog coming back, but the injured dog not.

In the video you can then see the hawk swoop down, and attack the dog.

"He went over there and he like swooshed the bird away, and under it was our dog," said Arnold.

"There was blood all over everywhere, there was so much blood," said Stallings.

A picture of the dog shows deep wounds. The couple rushed their dog to the animal clinic, and once they realized she couldn't make it, they decided to put her to sleep.

"We didn't know if she was going to make it," said Arnold. "It was really hard to watch her lay there like that and suffer."

"I really didn't want to, but she was suffering so bad," said Stallings.

AJ Hendershott, with the Missouri Department of Conservation, says he's never seen something like this.

"This is just a terribly uncommon event," said Hendershott.

And he reminds people that hawks can actually protect.

"They are beneficial to have around by in large, they do eat a lot of rodents, which are damaging to agricultural crops and do carry disease," said Hendershott.

Some wonder if the attack was caused by a food shortage, but Hendershott said mice and rodents are plentiful.

Stallings says he can't believe it happened in a busy part of Cape Girardeau, but Hendershott said hawks go to where the food is, and mice and rodents can run rampant in the city.

Now, Arnold and Stallings want to warn other dog owners.

"I will never let him go back outside again by himself," said Arnold.

"Make sure if you have dogs, to go outside with them because this could unfortunately happen to anybody's dog," said Stallings.

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