SAULT STE. MARIE - A woman living in Sault Ste. Marie’s west end says her dog was attacked by a snowy owl and she has warned her neighbours to be careful when putting pets outside.
Carlee Case Quarrell said she heard a sound no pet owner wants to hear while her dog Molly was outside on Jan. 8.
“We heard my dog screaming in the backyard, she was hurt. We opened the door and she had a huge gash on her leg,” said Case Quarrell. “It was vertical up and down and we couldn’t for the life of us figure out what happened to her and then later that day we spotted this owl on our fence.”
Her neighbour Joe Gallo was able to get a photograph of the unwelcome visitor.
“It’s so beautiful,” said Case Quarrell of the snowy owl, a nomadic bird that breeds in the Arctic in springtime but can be found in Ontario and other parts of Canada during the winter.
After a $1,000 vet bill, Molly is recovering from the wound.
”We were like, ‘okay this owl thinks our dogs are bunnies or something because they are smaller white bichons,” said Case Quarrell. “You can tell it probably tried to pick her up because it gashed her vertically.”
Case Quarrell lives in the neighbourhood behind the Esquire Club in Sault Ste. Marie’s west end.
“There are some open lots behind us that are filled with trees so we think it’s living in there,” said Case Quarrell. “Now we are afraid to let our dog out and we have the whole street on high alert.”
Snowy owls need to eat about seven to 12 mice a day, or the equivalent, to meet its daily food requirement.
Mostly silent, Snowy owls are often difficult to spot during the winter because their plumage camouflages them in the snow.
Case Quarrell said she contacted an owl sanctuary for advice on what to do about the owl, which is a protected species.
“Apparently they are hard to get rid of, which is making us kind of nervous,” she said. “They said it’s not going to leave, we are going to have to have someone probably capture it and rehome it.”