“Everyone thinks if your pets are behind the fence, they’re safe. They’re not,” says Anne Hayashi of the vicious coyote attack. Anne and her husband, Masa, were at home when their elderly Bichon Frisé pup, Yuki was set upon by not one or two, but an entire pack of coyotes.
Thankfully, 11-year-old Yuki, who weighs just 15-pounds, would survive. She lost an eye in the attack, however, and no longer feels safe in her own backyard. “Shock” is the main emotion the Hayashis are feeling in the aftermath. And as the couple tells NBC Bay Area, that shock isn’t going to fade anytime soon.
Yuki was inside their fenced-in back yard when the pack of coyotes “snuck” in through an 8-inch gap under their fence. “He was in terrible shape,” Anne tells the outlet. Masa has seen a coyote or two in their California neighborhood before, yet they’ve never seen a full pack.
“Six coyotes. They can attack small dogs, big dogs, and what’s even more scary [is] they can attack children, and that would be a sad scenario,” Masa continues. In the time since the coyote attack, he and Anne have put mesh across the small opening in their fence. They hope, of course, to prevent any further entrances by coyotes or other wildlife. And as they did, the couple would learn of another attack in their area.
“I heard a dog was attacked, but not as bad as Yuki,” Anne reveals. As a result, she and Masa wish to warn all American pet owners of the dangers wild coyotes pose to pets. The mid-sized canines are well-documented as having attacked, killed, and consumed everything from housecats to large dogs.
Coyote Attacks On the Rise as Mating Season Kicks In
“As coyotes spend time in neighborhoods, they become bolder and more comfortable with people, and they become more aggressive,” offers Peter Tira of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for Bay Area. “We’ve seen them take pets, small dogs, and quite often, it’s avoidable and preventable. But it takes a neighborhood effort.”
Best practices include keeping all pet food indoors, sealing garbage, eliminating rat infestations, and making loud noises to startle any neighborhood-going coyotes. This may not be enough to deter the species as their mating season kicks in, however.
As mid-January rolls in, coyotes enter their mating season which lasts throughout March. Their willingness to roam during daylight hours increases during this time, as does their search across vast distances for a mate. This often leads to urban coyote conflicts in places where attacks (and the species in general) are otherwise rare.
The best possible offense with a pack of coyotes is a good defense. Inspect all fencing, kennels, and any places pets are kept outdoors to ensure wildlife cannot enter. If pets roam free or remain chained up and unprotected outside, however, then they remain at the mercy of wildlife.