Dog Left 'Screaming' With Huge Gash After Being Attacked by Owl

A dog was left "screaming" with a large wound after being attacked by an owl in Canada.

Carlee Case Quarrell from the city of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada, said her dog, Molly—a white bichon—was outside on January 8 when the incident occurred, SooToday.com reported.

"We heard my dog screaming in the backyard, she was hurt. We opened the door and she had a huge gash on her leg," Case Quarrell told the local news outlet.

"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."

The woman's neighbor, Joe Gallo, said he also spotted the bird—identifying it as a snowy owl—and managed to snap a picture of it.

Snowy owls are very large, nomadic owls that are native to the world's Arctic regions, although during the North American winter, they are often seen as far south as southeastern Canada, the upper Great Lake states, and New England in winter, according to Cornell University's AllAboutBirds resource.

"It's so beautiful," Case Quarrell said of the snowy owl—a species characterized by its white feathers, with varying amounts of black or brown markings on the body and wings.

The woman said the owl may have mistaken Molly for prey before attacking the dog. The incident left her beloved pet with wounds that required veterinary treatment costing around CA$1,000 (around $800.)

"We were like, 'Okay this owl thinks our dogs are bunnies or something because they are smaller white bichons,'" Case Quarrell said. "You can tell it probably tried to pick her up because it gashed her vertically."

The woman said she believes the snowy owl is living near to their house and has warned neighbors to be cautious when leaving their pets outside.

"There are some open lots behind us that are filled with trees so we think it's living in there," Case Quarrell said. "Now we are afraid to let our dog out and we have the whole street on high alert."

The diet of snowy owls—the largest owls in North America by weight—consists mainly of small mammals, particularly lemmings, which may be the only food available to them for much of time they spend on the Arctic tundra. These owls also sometimes eat small birds and are even agile enough to catch them on the fly.

On their breeding and wintering grounds the diet of the snowy owl can vary widely and may include rodents, rabbits, hares, squirrels, weasels, wading birds, seabirds, ducks and geese, according to AllAboutBirds.

A snowy owl
Stock image showing a snowy owl. A pet dog was attacked by a snowy owl in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. iStock