Thursday April 17, 2014





Coyote attacks Lower Sahali terrier

'If I hadn't intervened so quickly, she would have been dead'
Murray Mitchell

Alan Watkin holds Athena.

In the morning gloom Thursday, Alan Watkin let his soft-coated Wheaton terrier Athena out into his condominium yard, tied to a rope to keep her close.

He went into the kitchen of his Pemberton Terrace home and just sat down when he heard a massive yelp.

"I go out and the coyote's got her by the back leg. I managed to chase the coyote off. He ran probably 20 feet, stopped, and I ran at him again. He ran down to the road and down toward Sahali Terrace," Watkin said later that day, after a trip to the veterinarian.

Coyotes aren't a common sight in Lower Sahali. Deer occasionally wander through, straying from Peterson Creek. But not coyotes preying on neighbourhood pets.

Atkin wants his neighbours and other city residents to be aware how widespread coyotes are.

Unknown to him, a neighbour had told his wife she'd spotted a coyote a couple of days earlier, but his wife hadn't passed on the information.

His dog is almost the size of a coyote and weighs 16 kilograms, so he was even more surprised she was attacked.

The veterinarian told Watkin that Athena was lucky. The 12-year-old dog had five punctures, but no tearing.

"Most of it looks superficial. Two bites went fairly deep, but they don't suspect any broken bones. If I hadn't intervened so quickly, she would have been dead," he said.

"That this was so close to town was very unusual, especially for the coyote to attack a dog close to the same size as itself."

Watkin has seen coyotes in action, both as a hunter and as a resident of Aberdeen. He's even watched a pack of coyotes single out a deer from a herd and kill it.

But the near-downtown home he thought was safe is no longer. He'll be watching in case Thursday morning's coyote returns and he'll be seeing how his gentle old dog recovers.

"I'll have to watch when she goes out. And she may not want to go out, either. She may wait until daylight before she goes out."

B.C. Conservation Service Sgt. Andy MacKay said there are fewer coyote reports this year than in 2012, but the animals are always looking for food.

Greenbelt areas and more rural neighbourhoods like Dallas and Barnhartvale are sources of frequent coyote reports. One coyote bit a man who was sleeping under the stars last spring at the Silver Sage trailer park and campground on the Tk'emlups Indian reserve.

Peak coyote spotting season is usually May to October, but the animals are out year-round looking for food, said MacKay.

Coyotes that are aggressive or threatening toward humans, livestock or pets should be reported to the conservation service, he said.

And homeowners should take the same precautions as they do with bears — don't feed them and don't leave pet food outside. If there's a coyote known to be in the area, keep an eye on pets.

"They do wander around. They're going to go where the food is."


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