The recent attack by a coyote on a dog sitting just inside a local business has people talking all over the country.
The distressing attack took place last Friday at Carola’s Quilt Shop in Gibsons, and once news of it hit the web, the Lower Mainland media were racing onto the ferry to get some footage for their newscasts.
When the story was broadcast, shock was the first response by many, soon followed by fear. Some inaccurate reports said Coasters were “gripped with fear” and keeping their pets locked inside, but no one I knew had this reaction.
While this particular story of loss made me sad for the pet owner and made me examine my own home for possible predator entry points, I was not gripped with fear. I was, however, reminded that we live just steps from coyotes, bears, cougars and other predatory animals that wouldn’t mind eating my plump house cat if the opportunity presented itself. It’s harsh, but it’s reality.
I’d like to think that most pet owners on the Coast are aware of the wild animal threats just beyond our doorsteps and that for the most part we act accordingly.
We don’t let our cats out past dark or keep them inside altogether, and we keep our dogs close or on leashes while venturing outdoors.
We pick all our ripened fruit, keep our garbage inside and generally address attractants in our yards.
We keep our guard up while on their turf, and for the most part they stay out of ours, but to realize a pair of coyotes could target and take a pet from inside a business is unnerving.
The question all of us have, but no one can seem to answer, is why? Why would two coyotes abandon natural food sources to stage such a brazen attack?
Even conservation officers were asking that question this week, admitting they’d never heard of anything like it.
One possible answer is that the dog actually ventured outside the back door when it was lured out by a coyote.
Lone coyotes often bait pets out onto their turf where the rest of the pack awaits.
When I was talking with conservation officer Dean Miller he said it’s possible. People were watching the coyote out front and no one had eyes on the poodle the entire time.
Whether the dog was just outside or inside the door, it’s obvious these coyotes planned the risky manoeuvre.
It required a very close proximity to humans and that’s something that worries me. Coyotes generally avoid people and are easily scared away.
These particular coyotes may have lost their fear of humans, which is why Conservation plans to investigate.
They only act when there is a public safety concern, but finding and killing the coyotes responsible is likely not going to happen. How could you point to two coyotes out of hundreds to say they did it? Besides, I honestly don’t think killing them is the answer. Something drove them to it, and that needs to be addressed so it doesn’t happen again.
In the meantime, the folks at the quilt shop have installed a makeshift lattice gate at their back door to deter any future coyotes that may want to try the same move. They adopted a new puppy to help Alaina Russell heal and they want to make sure it stays safe.