A ROGUE owl attacked a teenager and chased a dog in an attack at a Wearside beauty spot.
The eagle owl attacked the 14-year-old in Cleadon Meadows. His dog, a Patterdale Terrier, bolted into the road and was hit by a car.
The incident happened at about 4.30pm on Tuesday, leaving the 18-week-old puppy with a broken pelvis and leg, and potentially in need of surgery.
The boy, who does not want to be named, was also left shaken by the attack.
His grandmother, who owns the dog he was walking, said: “It’s obviously not frightened of people. It swooped for the dog so my grandson ducked out of the way and she slipped the lead, ran off and got hit by the car.
“He’s devastated, and really in a state about it. He had to carry the dog home.
“Other dog walkers should know about what happened, because I’ve heard that another dog was also attacked recently as well, and it was a bigger dog than mine.”
The woman, from Cleadon, said she fears what could happen if the owl, which can grow to over two feet tall, strikes again.
“What if that had been a child who ran out into the road?” she said. “He said it was massive, and he could feel it behind him. Then it went for the dog.”
The predatory bird is one of the biggest species of owl, and it is not the first time one has struck in the area.
Last September 17-year-old Connor Bowe was knocked to the ground by an eagle owl while out for a run in Cleadon Hills.
The incident sparked South Tyneside Council to launch a hunt for the feathered attacker.
Paul Anderson, chairman of Durham Bird Club, said the owl, which can have a wing span of up to 1.8 metres, could be starving and may have tried to attack the dog for food.
He said: “If it is hungry and looking for food, it could have seen the dog as prey.
“If it felt threatened, it would chased it. They have been known to kill something as big as a fox.
“They are powerful predators.”
There are not believed to be any truly wild eagle owls in the UK. but there are known to be a good number which have escaped from captivity and become feral.
A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “The council is aware of the eagle owl, and on numerous occasions we have tried to capture the bird by using a team of specialist handlers.
“This procedure hasn’t worked and the council has no legal responsibility to return this bird to captivity.”