Chihuahua killed by a bird of prey in Wallonia

Chihuahua killed by a bird of prey in Wallonia
A common buzzard, pictured in Adana, Turkey. Credit: Zeynel Cebeci/ Wikimedia Commons

A 2.6 kilogram Chihuahua named Chipie has been killed by a bird of prey while wandering a garden in the town of Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes, in Hainaut, Wallonia, RTL Info reports.

According to the dog’s owner, the dog was peacefully roaming the garden when a bird of prey, most likely a buzzard, swooped down and lifted it several metres into the air. Carrying the bird over the garden and towards a neighbour's property, the bird let go of the small dog, sending it plummeting to the ground.

The bird of prey is then reported to have followed the now-injured dog, killing the animal with several pecks from its large beak. “My little dog was screaming. We went to the neighbouring property to rescue her but unfortunately she succumbed to her injuries,” owner Carole lamented.

Understandably, the dog’s owner is distraught. “Our pets are like our children, we love them. We absolutely do not expect them to be kidnapped in this way. We only see this kind of thing in TV programmes… It’s unfair and completely mind-boggling.”

Poor Chipie has now been cremated and will remain with the owner in a small pink urn.

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Antoine Derouaux, ornithologist with environmental organisation Natagora, told RTL Info that this type of attack is extremely rare. The expert poses several hypotheses. The bird was either wild and attempting to feed its young, or a captive bird of prey that had escaped from its owner.

“More and more people have birds of prey at home, and they can take off and hunt at any time. It could also be an eagle owl,” Derouaux said. This is the first ever case that Natagora has recorded of a dog being killed by a bird of prey in Belgium.

But it is not the first incident of birds of prey being aggressive towards humans and their pets. In 2020, the residents of the Flemish town of Erpe-Mere, near Aalst, were terrorised by an aggressive European eagle owl with a wingspan of almost two metres. It killed local ducks, punctured a children’s swimming pool, and terrified dogs.

In a separate incident in May, a Belgian jogger in Theux, Wallonia was pursued by a “medium-to-large” sized bird of prey.

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