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On the prowl

Hawk kills cat

A HAWK is terrorising residents in a Staffordshire town and is reported to have killed a pet cat.
In two separate attacks, the bird of prey flew from woods and plunged its talons into its victims as they were out jogging in Lichfield.

The hawk was later seen by eyewitness Janice Barton in a back garden where it killed a cat, although no details of the cat’s owner have been released.

She said that after a brief struggle, the bird took off with the lifeless cat in its claws, adding: “The cat was just hanging limp. I have never seen anything like that happen before and I want people with babies and pets to be aware and vigilant.”

RSPB officers believe the hawk belongs to a falconer and is used to human contact, which might explain why it has swooped on runners.

Diane Jackson-Bond, 44, described how she was left bloodied after being attacked while running along a country lane. Miss Jackson-Bond, a former policewoman, said: “I had seen the bird and thought that it was following me but put such ideas out of my head and carried on jogging.
“Moments later it flew down on to my head with such a force that it almost knocked me sideways.

“It had its talons embedded in my skull and it was agony. I managed to shoo it away briefly but then it came back at me. Luckily a man who was driving past stopped and said, ‘Get in’. So I did and he drove me to safety. I found that I had deep scratches afterwards and had to clean them up with antiseptic.”

Expert John Akerman said it had escaped from captivity and was not deliberately attacking, but looking for food.

Mr Akerman, who is will attempt to capture the bird, said they were easy to acquire in the UK, as no laws existed about keeping them. They cost between £150 and £250.

He told BBC News: “What it is doing is flying to them for food, not attacking them, and then going back up to a tree.

“They are pack hunters and very sociable birds so we will bring a few hawks and hopefully it will join them.”

Harris Hawks are native to central areas in South America and have been flown in Britain since the 1960s.

Rescue my cat or I’ll shoot!

MOHAVE COUNTY, ARIZONA, USA: A MAN angry at firefighters who refused to rescue a cat from a tree was arrested after he started shooting at the fire crew, officials said.

Jeffrey Cullen, 58, was charged with four felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, Mohave County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Trish Carter said.

A three-person fire crew went to Cullen’s home last month when he reported a tree fire, but found no blaze, Hualapai Valley Fire Department spokeswoman Sandy Edwards said.

Instead, Cullen told firefighters he wanted a cat rescued from his tree and knew they would only respond to a fire call, Edwards said. A battalion chief told Cullen to call animal control or wait for the cat to get hungry and come down.

Cullen apparently didn’t like the response.

“He went back into the house, got a small black revolver and came outside shooting,” she said.
The firefighters and a 12-year-old boy who had come to see the fire truck ran for their lives. No one was injured.

Deputies arrested Cullen after a brief standoff and struggle. The cat came down from the tree shortly afterwards.