HIGHLAND, Ind. — Dog walkers in Northwest Indiana are being told to be wary of aggressive hawks, which are dive-bombing small animals in at least one local park.

Police in Highland issued the alert after a woman reported that a hawk swooped down and attempted to attack her chihuahua and schnauzer on Sunday at Homestead Park, along the Calumet Trail.

Both dogs were on leashes at the time of the attack.

Other residents have reported seeing hawks swooping down toward the ground, but Sunday’s incident was the first one in which a hawk tried to attack a dog.

Brad Bumgardner, an interpretive naturalist at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said such incidents happen from time to time.

“A couple things can be playing a role here. One is you have a territory where a bird of prey is just responding to an animal in its territory, and then the other aspect would be a bird that’s actually hungry and seeing our pets as food, and that typically would take a pretty small dog to have a bird of prey like a redtail hawk be interested,” he said.

The Highland Parks department will be posting warning signs around the park, which is east of Kennedy Avenue along the Little Calumet River.