Wednesday, November 16, 2011

East Fork resident: Coyotes killed dog

Victim first in 3 years, says wildlife official


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

Coyotes apparently killed a small mixed-breed dog in the East Fork area last week, and the owners say they want other residents to be aware of the problem.

"I just wanted to warn residents to be careful," said Edith Hadden, who has lived on East Fork Road south of Ketchum with her husband, George, since 1995.

Lately, she said, she's seen more coyotes coming closer to her home—and at noon Thursday, Nov. 10, her Chihuahua-schipperke mix fell victim to a pair of coyotes.

Hadden said the dog had been lying outside while she finished a few chores. She said she had spoken to the dog minutes before the attack.

"I looked at her and said, 'Let me finish this job and I'll take you for a walk,'" Hadden said. "The next thing I know, I got up to take her for a walk and she wasn't there."

After searching the house, Hadden went back into her backyard only to find two coyotes walking away from her property, and the body of her dog lying near the back of her property.

"Here was the dog," Hadden said. "She was ripped open, the stomach, and all the skin was removed from the back. It's just too much."

Hadden, who wears a hearing aid, did not hear barking from either the dog or the coyotes. Though she's lived in the house for 16 years and has seen a lot of wildlife, she said the number of close calls seems to be increasing.

"I think they're getting more ferocious," she said, adding that all of the chickens at a neighboring house have been killed, and that another neighbor had a dog killed by a coyote recently while hiking the Hyndman Creek loop near Pioneer Cabin.

Lee Garwood, conservation officer for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, said coyotes will attack and kill small dogs if provoked.

"I don't think we've had a death by coyote in at least three years," he said. "The last one I can remember, it was a smaller dog that fled for its life after barking at a few coyotes."

Garwood said he's surprised coyotes would come as close to the house as Hadden reported.

"Generally speaking, they tend to keep their distance from us," he said.

Garwood added that likely the coyote population was down, a result of mange that had transferred from red foxes several years ago to coyotes more recently.

Hadden said she hadn't yet contacted Fish and Game, but likely would do so in the next few days. She's still emotional, she said, and had not even thought about contacting the agency.

"It's just too much," she said.

Katherine Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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