It's bad enough when we hear about dogs -- sometimes pit bulls, sometimes other breeds -- attacking children. But this is crazy! Reportedly 2-year-old Alfie Hall was playing with his mother and some other relatives in a playground in the U.K. when a hawk swooped down and attacked the toddler's face, leaving him bloody and almost gouging out his eye and ripping off part of his ear. But this wasn't some scene from The Birds, wherein wild animals go insane. No, this was actually a neighborhood teen's pet bird. Apparently there are no local laws banning the keeping of wild birds as pets -- though there's a ban on pit bulls. Go figure!

Little Alfie was in a designated play area for children in the building where he lives when a nearby teen, who kept the hawk as a pet, allowed his hawk to fly around the playground. Locals said they'd previously seen the teen with his hawk on his arm. Apparently there is some trend of people keeping hawks as "status pets," like pit bulls used to be ... I guess before they banned pit bulls!

The hawk reportedly flew to a nearby tree and ignored his owner's calls to return to him. And then he suddenly swooped down and latched his talons onto Alfie's face. Hawks can apparently fly up to 200 mph.

The boy's mother, Elysia Hall, 23, says that when the hawk attacked her son, her brother ran over, screaming, trying to scare the bird away. The boy was rushed to the hospital.

The teen bird owner was arrested but later released. No word on whether he was allowed to keep his pet. Hopefully not. You have to wonder about this teen's parents. Why on earth are they letting him keep a hawk as a pet?! And inside an apartment building?!

The hawk didn't do anything wrong. It's being a hawk. It probably thought the kid was dinner. Wild animals might seem like they're tamed, but you just never know when they're going to revert to instinct. Keeping a hawk -- or any other wild creature, especially one that can do major damage to a human -- is incredibly stupid and irresponsible. But you can only imagine that the teen thought he had it all under control. People who keep exotic pets -- whether it's a hawk, a chimp, or a tiger -- are trying to "control" something they can't control. I think they do it when they feel that they are not in control of their lives. Unfortunately, it's the animal and other people who suffer.

Luckily it looks like the hawk missed Alfie's eye and his ear was sewn back on. I hope the poor tyke doesn't have physical scars -- though he's bound to have a few emotional ones.

Do you know anyone who keeps a wild animal for a pet?

 

Image via bagsgroove/Flickr