Coyote attempted to attack my dog

by Mike Jennings
(Cambridge, Ontario, Canada)

Last night, Saturday October 27th at approximately 8:15 pm I was walking my two dogs, a 1 year old Boston Terrier and a 2 year old Australian Shepherd/Border Collie cross, along our usual route which is a green area (hydro cut) near our home.

While approaching a walkway which was dimly lit, my Collie started acting oddly as if she had spotted a cat or squirrel.

I immediately noticed a large shape (I assumed it was a loose Shepherd) approaching my dog which sent her into a frenzy. Seeing as I assumed it was a stray or loose dog and wanting to avoid a nasty fight I immediately made an attempt to rein in my dog. However, as the approaching threat entered the brightly moonlit path I suddenly realized that it was indeed a Coyote.

I was terrified! It was headed straight for my dog. I pulled hard on her leash and jerked her out of the way at the last second and the Coyote ran into the bushes. I pulled out my flashlight and hurried along the path while keeping an outlook for the threat. When we were 40 or 50 feet away I could see its eyes reflected in the light.

If my local authorities refuse to do anything about these animals then I will be forced to take action.

I will not be threatened in my own backyard.

Mike Jennings

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Well said Tammy
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your thoughtful response to Mike's post, Tammy. I'm also a dog walker - generally at night - and often through parks, etc. I actually saw a lone Coyote in town tonight - thankfully without issue. I will definitely consider walking earlier if possible so as not to invite conflict. And I agree - wildlife are an important part of our ecosystem and should be respected and protected.

Not yours
by: Anonymous

Its not "your" backyard..... their land was taken away from THEM!

Well Said
by: Anonymous

Very well said Tammy, we (humans) need to learn how to live with the wildlife. We are the ones taking their homes and hunting grounds away from them leaving them no alternative but to look for food elsewhere (garbage cans, cats that are being left out at night to defend for themselves, etc)
People should be bringing their cats in at night, after all, they are part of the family.

An Opinion
by: Tammy

(May I kindly ask that this letter be left as a direct response to Mike's post? Thank you!)

Mike, I understand your deep concern regarding the coyote that did not show what should have been an appropriate amount of fear. I wonder if I can offer another perspective.

Even though the coyote did not show fear, I wonder if you sensed that it was actually aggressive or hunting your dog. Residents leaving garbage out, as well as feeding & interacting with coyotes can decrease their natural fear & lead to unusual behaviour (curiosity about dogs, looking for food, stalking easier 'prey', etc.).

I think it's important to take the human factor into consideration when responding. Of course, ill-health can also be a concern.

We seem to be sharing our rural and urban areas with coyotes, foxes and even wolves as our green spaces mature. Natural areas provide cover, habitat, travel corridors and prey areas for native mammals. We also have a recent Hydro cut on our land and I've noticed more wildlife there.

In terms of populations, because coyotes are intelligent & secretive, culling has not been very successful. Often, if an area sustains coyotes and some are killed, others will move in and kit sizes may even increase to compensate. If individual animals are poisoned, which can be terribly inhumane, or killed outright, there's no guarantee they will have been the ones causing problems.

I think it's wise for us to learn effective ways to protect ourselves & our pets. By doing this, we also protect wildlife and help maintain their natural fear of humans.

On trails and in green spaces, unless it's designated off-leash, I see the value in dogs being on-leash & close enough that we can protect them. Leashes are also good as there's no guarantee a dog won't run after a coyote, or other animal that can injure it. Pets shouldn't be left alone in yards and should be within reach at night (raccoons & skunks are another concern). If we see a coyote that's not leaving, we need to scare it off in no uncertain terms.

Garbage and pet food should not be accessible. We need to keep cats indoors to protect them. And in my opinion, it's probably better not to be with our pets in green spaces at night, or at dusk & dawn, when wild animals are looking for food & are most active. I don't think these actions are unreasonable, although they may take some adjustments.

I see wildlife as an essential & beneficial part of our ecosystem; as valuable and as having a right to exist. However, I think we always need to remember they are potentially present & are trying to survive. That said, we can become familiar with their habits and take steps to significantly decrease risk. They are most often, unfortunately, far more vulnerable to the actions of humans. I believe we need to take our responsibilities regarding wildlife very seriously.

Thanks for hearing my opinion, Mike. I really appreciate being able to offer it.



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