Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Coyotes team up to attack large black Labrador in Springfield

Oh, those wiley coyotes.
Reggie, the lab, was attacked by coyotes
A story I wrote for today's paper, Coyotes team up to attack dog at Springfield home, is getting a lot of attention — and rightly so.
Is it rare to hear about more than one coyote taking part in an attack, and perhaps even more rare to hear of a very large, 110-lb. dog being the target.
The DNR thinks the dog may have wandered too close to the coyotes' den site, or that the coyotes may have wandered away from the den and stumbled upon the dog. The attack, then, is assumed to be a defensive one, not a hunting one.
But I've been hearing from people all over the place this morning.
"You know they go for the hamstrings," said one man who called early Wednesday morning. "They rip out the hamstrings on the back legs' of the dog, and then the dog can only use it's head to defend itself and eventually, the coyotes will wear down the dog."
I noted that Labrador who was attacked seemed to suffer the worst injuries on his back legs.
Another guy told me about some California folks who owned and bred champion Yorkies. He said coyotes came into the yard, attacking and eating the male Yorkie used for breeding. The dog owner got so mad he went out and bought a German Shepherd, but the coyotes had a plan for that, too.
The caller said that the coyotes sent in a female in a heat and the German Shepherd followed the female out into the wilderness, where he was promptly killed and eaten by the rest of the coyotes.
I can't confirm whether any of this is true — it's second-hand information, after all — but definitely interesting.
What there does seem to be a whole lot of information on is coyote-dog hybrids (Google "Coydog"). If that's not a reason to spay and neuter, I don't know what is.
Check out these photos posted on Jonathan Schechter's blog last fall of a potential hybrid coyote in Brandon Township.
I also got an email from the Executive Editor of The Macomb Daily, who said he watched two coyotes take down a deer a couple years ago. He also said he recently saw coyotes that looked to be 60-70 pounds right on the shore of Lake St. Clair. That's much larger than the 25-35 pounds most coyotes weigh in at.
Also notable, Tim Payne of the DNR mentioned to me yesterday that there is some evidence Michigan has both the larger species of coyote, the Eastern Coyote, in addition to the smaller Western Coyote. I found online that Eastern Coyotes mates for life. I couldn't find anything about their hunting habits, though I'd presume if you're a coyote, and you're pairing up with another coyote for life, you might as well hunt together, right? It only seems smart.
Meanwhile, I recommend owners of small dogs in Oakland County take all the precautions they've always had to, and that big dog owners keep a watchful eye out too.
As always, keep your dog in your yard, and keep a watch on your dog while it's in your yard unattended. It's a good practice to have anyhow.

Video of Chip Acey and his dog, Reggie, who was attacked by two coyotes recently

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