Coyote attacked our puppy, right outside my front door

November 12, 2010
by Beth Statman

“I wanted to let you all know to be on the alert.  Our golden retriever puppy, Cleo, was attacked by a coyote yesterday morning at 7:30.” That was the first line of the email I sent out to my neighbors on Cowdin Lane last Thursday, November 4.

“We had let Cleo out on her 15-foot line right by our front door and then we heard a tussle going on outside.  My son Matt ran out and scared the coyote away. Cleo had one bite mark on the neck, but she had already had her rabies shot.  I took her to the vet and they gave her another rabies booster shot and she has recovered very quickly.”

My email continued: “The animal control warden of New Castle, James Moore, came to our house to check out Cleo and investigate what had happened. He let us know some interesting things about coyotes.  First of all, they usually are not rabid, less than 1 out of 100 are rabid.  Second, they can be almost as fast as a greyhound in an all-out sprint.” 

“They are afraid of people, but tend to prey on anything smaller than themselves, like small dogs, cats, squirrels, birds, that sort of thing. However, if an animal is old or sick, they can sense that and will attack even if the weakened animal is larger than they are. The coyotes that have been in our area are on the large side, between 50 to 70 pounds. The one that attacked Cleo was big, in the 60 to 70 pound range.  If you have small animals, please keep an eye on them, and if you have very small children, just make sure you’re with them when they are outside in the early morning or at dusk.  Officer Moore said you could call him with any questions at 238-6889,” my email concluded.

Coyotes can be quite bold

I’m amazed that the coyote practically came to our front door to take Cleo.  Officer Moore explained that where that bite mark appeared on Cleo is where the coyote would carry its prey to bring back to its den.  The tussle we heard was a really high pitched yelping, which was obviously Cleo, and a strange sound coming from the front of the house. 

My 16-year-old son Matthew was in the den, which looks out to the front yard, and yelled out that there was a coyote outside and ran to the front door. We all jumped up and Eric, my husband, ran to the kitchen door.  Eric and Matt opened the doors about the same time and scared off the coyote.  I’ve only seen a coyote on our property once before on the side close to the woods and my previous dog ran after it, but she kept her distance.

Office Moore gave me the names and phone numbers of the people from the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Protection.  The woman from the Department of Health called me the next day and asked me about the incident and who had handled the dog after she was attacked and if they got any of Cleo’s blood on them. She was very nice and helpful. 

After I spoke with her, I called the D.E.P. and left a detailed message about my puppy and also about my being handicapped. (I have trouble with my balance and walking after being in a serious car accident many years ago).  Officer Moore told me to make sure I told them that I was handicapped. 

Well, it’s Thursday, November 11, and I still haven’t heard back from them.  I wonder if the D.E.P. will actually do anything.  It worries me because I’m very nervous when I have to walk Cleo in the evening if my kids aren’t around or my husband isn’t around.  I never thought about this before, but now I have to, and it makes me afraid for myself and for Cleo.

Beth Statman lives with her husband Eric, their two children, Matthew (16) and Olivia (14), and Cleo, on Cowdin Lane.

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Sorry to hear about the incident.  On November 5th, I was working from home (for the first time) and I saw a coyote in my backyard at 10:30am (Whippoorwill Lake area).  He walked from my backyard to Whippoorwill Close and then disappeared from my sight.  I had never seen a coyote in daylight.  I had only heard them in a pack howling at night.

By Andrew K on 11/12/2010 at 8:50 am

I know you love your dog and from the photo, you take good care of your dog who is beautiful.  However, you are putting your dog in danger when you leave it on any kind of a “rope”, leash, etc. tied outside—no matter how close to the house (If you’re outside with the dog OK but not alone.)  The coyote and other animals are smart enough to realize that your animal is at a big disadvantage.  It cannot run any further than the length of your rope and is therefore in a weakened position.  I have my golden on an invisible fence so she can run around the property, but even with this, I don’t leave her out when I’m not home or not be aware of her when she is out on the property. Like many people up here, we don’t have fences so the invisible fence is the next best alternative. I’m glad your dog is doing well after the bite.

By Golden Lover Too on 11/12/2010 at 8:58 am

What a lovely pup!  I am very glad that she was unhurt by the marauder.  Do keep an eye on her at all times when she’s outside until you have a fence installed.  Coyotes are smart predators and they’ll be back if they know they can get a potential meal.  Believe me, I know this from first-hand experience:  Coyotes ate 2 of my cats.:(

By dog (and cat) lover on 11/15/2010 at 8:55 pm

Thanks for the warning and sorry you suffered the incident.

Tongue in cheek, one hopes the coyote was not in the employ of Summit Greenfield in an effort to deal with Chappaqua Crossing neighbors.

By Was the Coyote Employed by Chappaqua Crossing? on 11/18/2010 at 11:32 am

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We encourage civil, civic discourse. In other words, be pithy and polite. All comments will be reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.