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January 04, 2018

Pennsylvania dog snatched by eagle survives snowy attack

Bird of prey grabbed bichon frise from owner's backyard and carried it away

On the same day the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced the return of its popular bald eagle live stream, one Lehigh Valley family's dog was just lucky to be alive.

In an incredible story recounted to the Associated Press, a 7-year-old bichon frise was let outside to roam its fenced-in backyard when an eagle stormed in from the sky and plucked the dog away.

“It seemed like something from the ’Wizard of Oz,’” Felipe Rodriguez, who witnessed the incident, told the AP on Wednesday. “I’m a city boy. This doesn’t happen in my world.”

Rodriguez, who was watching eight-pound Zooey for his sister, said he saw the bird flap its wings and disappear over nearby trees on the banks of the Lehigh River.

Monica Newhard, Zooey's owner, said she cried all day when she heard what happened. Family members drove around town and searched the woods for the dog, but couldn't locate her. They put up a public Facebook post in a last-ditch effort.

Then, four miles away from where Zooey disappeared, a motorist on a snowy back-road spotted a shivering, icy creature.

“I notice this little frozen dog, icicles hanging from all over. It could hardly move,” Christina Hartman told the AP.

Hartman brought Zooey home and fed her soup, determined to reunite her safely with her family. She came across the public Facebook post and Zooey's adventurous day ended where it began.

A local biologist told the AP that while it's rare for an eagle to prey on domesticated animals, it becomes more likely during the winter months when food is scarce and waterways freeze.