December 12, 2013 - 3:57 PM
'HER COAT WAS COVERED IN BLOOD AND THERE ARE HUGE TEARS IN BOTH SLEEVES.'
SUMMERLAND - A woman was bloodied Wednesday after she held her ground between three attacking coyotes and her dog but she and her partner don't want the predators demonized.
Sarah James was too distraught to speak but told the whole story to Lesley Field, her partner. She said James was walking two of her friend's dogs yesterday. The first was with Puck, a 70-pound Labrador. They found the three coyotes on the trail but the animals backed off when James shouted and the large dog barked.
James returned later with Rosie, a labradoodle. She had Rosie off-leash and running at the halfway mark on Peach Orchard Loop Trail when the three coyotes appeared again. James called Rosie to her side as one coyote stood in front of her and the other two took positions on either side.
"They went after the little dog," Field said. James fell on top of her furry friend, went into a crouch and pulled her hood up. When the coyotes attacked, James fought them off with one hand.
"They were attacking her... biting her sleeve, ripping her coat and her hands (got) covered in lacerations," Field said. "It was really terrifying."
"They really mauled her hand and her arm. She's not bitten and there's no puncture wounds but there are very serious kind of abrasions. Her skin is kinda of scraped off. She doesn't even know how that happened. Her coat was covered in blood and there are huge tears in both sleeves."
Eventually, the coyotes stopped attacking and left the scene.
Field said she and James have sympathy for the animals.
"We both want to make it clear," Field said. "We are not seeing the coyotes as some kind of demons. They are having the hardest time finding food."
The two women spoke with conservation officers who told them the coyotes likely belong to one of two dens by Summerland's lake shore.
Summerland Mayor Janice Perrino said on Thursday that once she heard the news, she contacted WildSafe B.C. for advice. She's seen coyotoes before, along with bears, deer and other large animals, but has never heard of them being this bold.
In an email sent to the mayor and shared with Infotel News, conservation officer Jim Beck said the coyotes were definitely after the dogs but it was odd for three coyotes to be part of the same attack.
He said coyotoes normally travel and hunt alone and added the conservation service will be conducting an investigation. Beck recommended hikers and dog walkers carry big walking sticks and consider purchasing anti-bear or canine spray.
To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 250-488-3065, send tweets to @shannonquesnel1or @InfoNewsPentict.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013