The seaside town of Fairhaven has lots of wildlife living alongside its people and pets. They don't always live together in harmony, as this story proves.

This past Saturday, a large bird, believed to be a hawk, swooped down from the skies and snatched up a cat. The orange-furred cat made an easy target given the color contrast of its fur with the snow-covered ground from which it was lifted.

This didn't happen in the wild. It happened in my neighborhood, a neighborhood that is dense with housing and constantly buzzing with car traffic. That cat was a pet and it is terrible what happened to it.

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But don't blame the hawk. The cat shouldn't have been out of the house. Maybe it escaped or maybe the owner let it out intentionally. If the pet had been in the house, it would be a pet today instead of a losing member of the food chain. Animals need to eat more in the winter and the competition for food sources forces wild animals to make additions to their traditional menu.

The number one job of a pet owner is to keep the animal safe. Often the pet has to be kept safe from the consequences of its own instincts and desires. Dogs are on leashes and behind fences so they don't wander off and get into trouble with car bumpers and other lethal curiosities.

And sometimes those pets can even be taken from above, even when in a fenced-yard, like a Bichon Frise in East Freetown back in 2018.

The suburban neighborhoods of New Bedford, Fairhaven, Dartmouth, Mattapoisett, Westport, Freetown, Acushnet, Wareham, and Cape Cod are also home to coyotes, foxes, bears, fishers, hawks, eagles, and ospreys in varying amounts. There are also credible reports of bobcats, lynx, and even cougars and wolves in the region.

Wild animals have to eat and our pets are food if we make them vulnerable.

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