Almost two weeks ago, we wrote about coyote-avoidance advice from an expert: A federal agent who is paid to investigate coyote-neighborhood conflicts, and sometimes to very quietly take lethal action.
Don’t even let your dog out into your yard alone, he warned, let alone let your cat roam the neighborhood, unless you are well aware it is putting them in the path of potentially deadly harm. (Not just from coyotes – raccoons, cars, other dogs/cats, you name it.)
If you still don’t believe him, listen to the story an Admiral resident contacted us to share. (The resident did not want to be identified.)
The resident says that a family dog was attacked by at least one coyote, while in a fenced yard in their Belvidere-area neighborhood.
Not a little dog, either – the 62-pound border collie mix on the left. The resident’s spouse was home when it happened more than a week ago and did not see the attack, but the diagnosis was made by the size and spacing of puncture wounds, and they were told that the number of bites suggested multiple coyotes because, “It would be rare for them to attack a large dog on their own.” The resident tells the story:
The attack happened just before dusk. … Our 95 lb. Shepherd charged to help the Collie and likely saved his life. My Collie has 15-18 puncture wounds on his throat, neck, back, and sides. This attack came three weeks after coyotes killed our cat in our yard. After our cat was killed, we were only letting the dogs out in the fenced yard together and never after dark without us. In fact, I would accompany them after dark to do their business with a big stick in my hand.
(Wildlife experts) explained that this was clearly a territorial attack and that my dog is extremely lucky to be alive. They said that coyotes attack to kill, unlike most domestic dogs who fight for rank. The coyotes often dig under the fence and can jump a 7-foot fence, so building a bigger fence will not protect against another attack. I am taking the advice of the experts and only taking my dogs out on leash, even in our fenced yard.
The perception is that coyotes will only kill cats and small dogs at night. This is not true. This was a big dog, in a fenced yard, before dark and with a larger dog nearby.
The resident says a call to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife led to a reference to the federal Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services division – the employer of the agent who contacted us to get out the “don’t provide food sources, alive or otherwise” advice – but this Admiral resident insists they are not in favor of getting a coyote killed as a result. They just want people to know that “don’t let your pet out alone” means exactly that: “I know some people will get riled up but I think most people would appreciate to know so they can take steps protect their pets. I only wish I would have known.” Their dog is healing, though the bites were compounded by an infection and required antibiotics. Treatment has cost them more than $800 so far, and has led them to a lot of knowledge they wish they hadn’t needed to uncover: “I now know more about coyotes than I ever wanted to.”