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Winter jacket saves small dog from owl

Jan. 18, 2011 at 1:46 PM

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill., Jan. 18 (UPI) -- An Illinois man credited his Chihuahua's winter jacket with saving the small canine from a great horned owl attack.

George Kalomiris said he was walking the 4-pound dog, Chico, in the early hours Wednesday in Crystal Lake when the owl swooped out of the darkness and tried to grab the canine, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday.

However, Kalomiris said the owl could not get a good grip on Chico because of the dog's puffy winter jacket. He said the dog suffered scratches to his head and a puncture wound, but quickly recovered from the injuries.

Rebecca Murphy of the McHenry County Conservation District's Wildlife Resource Center told the Crystal Lake Northwest Herald the owls are "opportunistic" hunters.

"(Owls don't) know the difference between a pet animal or a prey animal," Murphy said. "With a small dog like that, there is a potential that larger raptor species could take them down."

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