Tiny Dog Snatched by Owl Is Reunited with Family

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6.13.14 - Dog Taken by Owl Is Returned

Chuck Zeiler says if you don’t believe this story, he wouldn’t blame you – he can hardly believe it himself.  His stepdaughter’s Min Pin was carried away by an owl, destined to become its dinner.  Miraculously, the little dog was found alive a few miles away.

“I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes,” Zeiler said.  “It’s just crazy.”

The Mission Valley, Montana man was sitting on his front porch one evening back in April with his two Miniature Pinschers, Daisy and Buddy, and their daughter Montana, who belongs to Zeiler’s stepdaughter, Bobbie Jo Wheeler.

“I went inside to get a cup of coffee, and when I came back out the older female and male came up and sat by me,” Zeiler explained.  “I heard something that didn’t sound right, and then these two started barking at the sky.”

He ran out into the yard, searching the sky for the cause of the commotion.  He spotted a large bird, which he believes was an owl, clutching the 10-pound dog in its talons.

“I ran in the house and grabbed my shotgun, and got back out in the yard before I realized if I shot the bird, I’d kill the dog.  So I just watched the bird fly north and west, and out of sight,” Zeiler said.

He scoured the area for Montana, but had to come home empty-handed.

“I was devastated,” Wheeler said.  “She’s like my kid.”

About 10 days later, Zeiler’s nephew saw a flier in St. Ignatius, a neighboring town.  A Min Pin had been found in someone’s field.

“They found her by a haystack, about 3 ½ miles from me,” Zeiler said.  “I guess it took them three or four days before they could get her to come to them so they could even feed her and take her picture for the flier.”

Wheeler couldn’t believe it could be her dog.

“I thought, ‘No way.  I’m not that lucky!’”

Zeiler went to retrieve their missing family member, but was unable to do so before another went missing.  He was having trouble finding the farm where Montana was being kept, and pulled into a dairy farm whose owners he knew.

“I had the little male on a leash, and he saw a cat or something and jerked the leash right out of my hand and tore off,” Zeiler said.

He and the farm owners searched everywhere, but it seemed that Buddy had disappeared.  Zeiler took a break and went to get Montana, who was a bit banged up but otherwise okay.

“She had one scab and a puncture mark right below it, but other than that she was fine.”

It is unknown what happened to cause the owl to drop Montana, but it is likely that she either struggled too much or became too heavy for the bird of prey to continue carrying her, and she was dropped right onto a haystack.

Zeiler returned to the dairy farm, calling and whistling for him until 2 am.

“I finally gave up, went home and slept for three or four hours, then went back,” he said.  “I drove in up by the barn, got out, whistled and yelled, and heard one little yip.”

Buddy was inside the barn, where his leash had become entangled on a chunk of concrete, abruptly ending his cat-chasing adventure.

“I wouldn’t believe it if somebody told me a story like that,” Zeiler said.

The dogs are all safe and sound at home now, but Wheeler says the excursion has changed Montana’s personality.

“She had a big dog personality.  Now she’s very cautious.  It made her realize she’s just a tiny thing.”







8 thoughts on “Tiny Dog Snatched by Owl Is Reunited with Family”

  1. This story sounds fake. An owl isn’t big enough to pick up a 10 lb dog, and owl’s don’t hunt during the day.

    • They do this time of year, if there are young in the nest. Besides, the article said “evening”.
      As for the weight,
      some owls are damn big. Could also have been another kind of bird too. Eagles can easily carry big fish around and also hunt land creatures.

    • Owls like people come in different sizes. In the story he said that they thought it was an owl. I have lived in that area and can tell you from experience there are a lot of predator birds there. I had my chihuahua out one day off her leash and looked back to see a large hawk swoop down on her. She didn’t know a thing. Fortunately I was close enough to stop that from happening. Also owls have hollow bones so they can lift a lot more than you would think.

  2. my min pin was picked up and dropped by hawk serious injuries but recovered after staples stitches and drains terrible experience vet thinks being overweight caused hawk to drop dog trama she does not like to be outside now for any length of time

  3. Happens all the time here in Alaska Eagles get Tourist cats and Dogs all the time
    Great Horn Owl a 20 lb dog no problem / Eagles take Caribou Calves

  4. If more people could actually see an animal of any kind picked up by a hawk or an eagle, then maybe they wouldn’t be so ga ga over these damm cruel predators. A squirrel dies in silence but not necessarily quickly. If one of the talons penetrates the heart then the creature is fortunate, because death is quick. Sadly that is rarely the case. Not to mention that many times the prey manages to struggle free, only to die of massive injury sometime later, in agony of course.
    I once saw a Chihuawa (spelling??) grabbed by a hawk. We were having a cookout, and the dog was running around loose. It had a leash attached to it, but the leash was not fastened to anything. A hawk appeared from nowhere, and just scooped up the dog, and flew up into a very large tree that was nearby. We all heard that dog screaming as the hawk tore it apart, then after about ten minutes the screaming stopped. Sounded more like a child than a dog. I think the leash is still up in that tree as a reminder


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