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Eagle flies away with dog; dog falls, survives injuries

Saturday, March 9, 2002

MADISON — An American bald eagle swooped out of the sky Friday morning and snatched a 13-pound dachshund from the dog's own yard, family members on River Road said.

"She came home all bleeding everywhere," Jon Martin Jr. said. "An eagle has sharp talons. You could see exactly where the claws were."

Martin's parents, Laura and Jon Sr., took the dog, 4-year-old Ava, to the Animal Medical Clinic on Route 150 in Skowhegan, where veterinarian Gail Gibson performed surgery about 3:15 p.m.

A receptionist at the clinic said the dog will live, but perhaps without the use of its badly damaged hind legs.

She confirmed that injuries to the animal's hind quarters appeared to be caused by the long talons of a big bird.

Martin said he and his father began noticing the eagle last fall near the the Kennebec River north of downtown Madison, where the river twists and turns.

"He always hunts in this area, constantly circling around, way up high," Martin said. "It's a really huge, huge bird. It's really beautiful."

Martin said his father let the dog out of the house, located about 500 feet from his own house, as he always does in the morning. The dog's daily routine includes a visit to Jon Jr.'s house, where she plays with his two daughters, ages 5 and 3, he said.

That routine was interrupted Friday, when the eagle landed, clutched the dog in its talons and flew away, according to Martin.

"I told my father, I said, 'Dad, you want to watch out for that eagle. Ava is a little hot dog. That eagle's going to get the dog.' This morning, sure enough, he got the dog."

Jon Martin Sr. said he saw the eagle, but at first did not know the bird had grabbed the dog.

When he realized what had happened, he said he began running toward the bird, waving his arms and yelling, as the eagle lifted off the ground with it prey in tow.

"Then the dog bit him in the leg, so he let him go," Martin Sr. said.

He said the dog dropped from about the height of a tall tree nearby and hit the ground, injured, but still alive.

"She bit the eagle and and he dropped her," Jon Jr. said, again picking up the story. "The claws pierced her like a razor. They went right through her body to the other side."

Martin Jr. said his daughters love the little dog, so he and his wife Sherrie did not tell them Friday that a big bird had hurt Ava.

"We didn't let them know anything yet," he said. "Hopefully everything's going to be OK.

"If she comes home OK, we'll tell them after."

Copyright © 2002 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.


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