A professional dog walker in Central Saanich is warning the public to keep an eye out for eagles after a small dog was attacked in Centennial Park.
“You have to be careful at this time of year,” said James Younger of Central Saanich Dog Walking. “If you hear or see eagles this time of year, you have to be vigilant. I just want people to be aware and careful with their small dogs.”
Younger issued this warning after a senior told him about an attack by an eagle on her dog last week in Centennial Park.
According to Younger, who did not see the incident himself, the woman was walking with her husband last Tuesday afternoon, when the attack took place.
The couple was walking with two dogs, one weighing about 35 pounds and a smaller, Chihuahua-sized dog weighing about 10 pounds, said Younger.
“And the eagle landed on the dog, and they were just waving their arms, trying to scare off the eagle, which eventually let go and flew off,” said Younger.
“I did see the dog last week and it was relatively uninjured.”
Younger said the dog was wearing a harness that almost acted like a protective vest. “[The eagle] was probably grabbing the material mostly, because there are just small little injuries on the dog, as opposed to what a talon could do,” he said. He added later that he has seen the couple around the park for some time and the woman stopped him to tell him about the experience.
While Younger did not witness the incident, he has observed a nesting pair of eagles flying through the woods of Centennial Park, looking for food.
“The female eagle was up front and then the male eagle was about 20 seconds behind,” he said. “She was doing the recon, he was doing the targeting.”
What the woman told Younger supports similar stories reported in the past.
“I have heard about it every spring for the last few years,” he said.
“But I never talked to anybody who has had it actually happen to them. So now it’s confirmed in my mind and I did the see eagles flying through the trees, which I have never seen before, especially not in the city here.”
Younger has also heard similar tales from Cy Hampson Park. “And it’s well known that eagles pick off dogs on Island View beach.”
An informal sign warning park users has since appeared in the Central Saanich park.
Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner