Sugar Grove family’s beloved pooch attacked by coyote
By Stephanie Lulay firstname.lastname@example.org October 17, 2011 12:34PM
Goldilocks, Sugar Grove dog that was attacked by a coyote. Submittted photo
Updated: November 19, 2011 8:35AM
SUGAR GROVE — Neighbors are on alert after an elderly dog was attacked by a coyote earlier this month in a Sugar Grove subdivision.
At about 5:15 a.m. Oct. 6, Laurie Sutherland’s husband Mark let Goldilocks, their 16-year-old cocker spaniel-poodle mix, outside in the yard in the Chelsea Meadows subdivision. Because of the dog’s age, the couple has made a routine out of keeping an eye on her.
Within minutes of Goldilocks’ going out into the yard, she was attacked by a coyote.
“It swooped through the yard and attacked Goldilocks,” Sutherland said.
Her husband was watching from the porch and saw the attack.
Although her husband made enough noise to scare off the coyote, the coyote made a second dash for Goldilocks. The coyote then ran into a field behind their yard.
After Sutherland took the dog inside, she said the Goldilocks appeared to be fine. But about a half-hour later, the couple noticed blood on the carpet. That’s when Sutherland decided to take Goldilocks to the Sugar Grove Animal Hospital, where the pooch was treated by Dr. Craig Zabel.
Zabel discovered the dog had a puncture wound, according to Sutherland, and was treated with antibiotics. She said she was grateful that Goldilocks, who already faces health problems like deafness and cataracts, survived the ordeal.
Zabel said the clinic sees a fair number of dogs and cats that have been tangling with some type of wild animal.
“Most coyotes are interested in securing a meal. Cats are pretty quick and agile so a small dog — the really little guys — could be mistaken for prey,” Zabel said.
Pets that are attacked by a coyote should be treated by a veterinarian, Zabel said.
“Puncture wounds are almost always dangerous and hidden in the fur,” he said. “But if a coyote gets a hold of a small dog and shakes the dog, it could cause internal organ damage.”
After the attack, Sutherland has been alerting neighbors of the coyote presence.
“I just want other people to be careful with their pets and small children. We have two bus stops in our neighborhood, and John Shields (Elementary School) is less than a mile away,” she said.
Sugar Grove resident Pat Graceffa said that coyote sightings have been frequent this season.
“I have heard from every side of Sugar Grove, and everyone seems to be seeing and hearing coyotes. They are large,” she said. “The wonderful part of living out here is the nature, but the reality sometimes is a little scary, too.”
Living with coyotes
Zabel said common sense rules apply to keep dogs safe — basically, don’t leave a pet unattended.
Sutherland said she will use an air horn to scare coyotes away from her dog in the event of an attack.
Sutherland also noticed why her yard might be so attractive to a coyote — food. Fallen fruit from a neighbor’s tree and seed from a bird feeder are on her lawn. Rabbits are also a draw for coyotes.
Tom Schlueter, public information officer at the Kane County Health Department, said animal control has not received an abundance of calls about coyotes this season.
“Typically we really can’t do anything about them from the county standpoint,” Schlueter said. “Coyotes are a permanent fixture in Kane County.”
Instead, Schlueter said residents’ best bet is to find ways to co-exist with the coyotes.
According to Animal Control, securing garbage cans and fencing a yard can also help keep coyotes away.
More tips are available at the Kane County Animal Control website at www.co.kane.il.us/AnimalControl.