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Little Vernon dog survives encounter with pack of coyotes

Four-year-old Amigo survived an encounter with a pack of coyotes in Vernon, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Shannan Dreger
February 07, 2020 - 11:30 AM

A little dog in Vernon escaped from its owners this week and ran straight into a pack of coyotes.

On Monday, Feb. 3, Shannan Dreger said Amigo, her four-year-old dog, and her husband were spending time at the BX Ranch Dog Park in Vernon.

“It’s an off-leash park, and we’ve had dogs in the area for 20 years or more, but he got away,” she said. They quickly posted on Facebook asking for help in locating him.

Through Facebook, she communicated with other residents who had spotted him but he resisted capture.

“He’s quite resilient,” she said, adding that he’s shy around people.

They spent all day trying to find Amigo before K9 Control found him and notified Dreger that he had been attacked by coyotes.

She took him to Tri Lake Animal Hospital in Lake Country since it was the only place open during that night.

“He had quite a laceration on his head and blood in his ear,” she said.

She’s never had a dog that was attacked by a coyote before, but he's expected to make a full recovery.

Linda Kaplan, medical director at Tri Lake Hospital said while they’ve had a recent case, there hasn’t seen an increase in coyote attacks on pets.

“I don’t know that we’ve had an influx of extra cases, but that’s not an unusual thing in the wintertime when they’re desperate for prey items,” she said.

It’s currently mating season for coyotes, making them more active.

According to WildSafeBC, coyotes mate from early February to mid-March and produce pups in April to mid-May. During this time, pets are more susceptible to depredation.

Wild Wednesday - Season 4 - Episode 5: Mid winter coyotes from WildSafeBC on Vimeo.

“They may see dogs as a potential threat. If you know there’s coyote activity in the area or you’ve heard them howling… it’s always a good idea to keep your pets on a leash this time of year, just to be cautious,” said Vanessa Isnardy, with WildSafe BC.

“It’s unusual and rare still for people to be attacked by coyotes, but it’s good to be prepared.”

She said only one case has been reported on the East Coast where a person has died from a coyote attack, but those coyotes are a larger species, she said.

“There’s no rabies in the coyotes here that have ever been reported here, and they’re smaller compared to a wolf so an able-bodied person should be able to fend off an aggressive coyote,” she said.

There have been reports of people being injured by coyotes, she said, adding in those instances the coyotes have been conditioned to living in urban areas.

Coyotes are most active around dusk and dawn, so if you’re out walking your pet during those times, be aware of your surroundings, she said.

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