Coyote attacked woman’s dog in San Francisco


It was the usual evening routine for Lyndsay Przybyl and her 13-year-old terrier, Roscoe.

Przybyl, 39, who works as a bartender in downtown San Francisco, had just finished her Tuesday night shift, returning home to Inner Richmond near the intersection of 5th and Clement around 11:30 p.m. She tied Roscoe’s leash to her collar and they went out for a walk, heading to 10th and California where her boyfriend, Tim Sowards, 41, lives.

When they were about half a block from his house, Przybyl removed Roscoe’s leash.

“Just like I’ve done it a million times,” she told SFGATE over the phone. “It’s something I’ll never do again.”

In 15 seconds, Przybyl continued, “the coyotes came out of the shadows.”

There were four of them in total, and as they began to circle Przybyl, Sowards and Roscoe, the dog suddenly darted after one of them.

“I yelled at him to come back, and just as I did, a coyote just grabbed him by the neck and ran away,” Przybyl said. “It all happened so fast.”

Without hesitation, Sowards started chasing the animal and said she could hear Roscoe “screaming his guts out.”

Then there was silence.

“I was just like, ‘This is it. He’s gone, ”Przybyl said.

Meanwhile, Sowards continued to clap and yell at the coyote, which eventually dropped Roscoe onto the sidewalk. The dog was still alive, but the coyote lingered on him in a territorial fashion, Przybyl said.

It was then that Sowards tried his luck. He loaded the coyote, picked up Roscoe, and sprinted towards the house relatively unscathed except for a few scratches from the cement.

“I was in shock,” Przybyl said. “I kept saying, ‘I can’t believe you did this,’ over and over again. He said there was no other option. If he hesitated, we could be in a completely different situation right now.

Przybyl ran upstairs and grabbed a blanket to wrap it around Roscoe’s neck as she frantically searched the internet, trying to find a vet clinic that was still open. A friend recommended OakVet, a 24-hour emergency vet in Oakland, so Przybyl called a Lyft and got there as soon as she could.

“He was moaning the entire way,” she said of Roscoe, who had about six puncture wounds to his neck. Her collar, which she found in the street two days after the incident, had been gnawed in half. “There was a lot of blood. It was a heartbreaking situation – I didn’t know if he was going to live or die.

The vet team administered antibiotics and pain relievers, shaving off some of Roscoe’s fur and using staples to mend a deeper wound on the back of his neck. He also received a rabies vaccine.

“They kept telling me how rare it was because coyotes usually don’t come back,” Przybyl said.

By 5:30 a.m. the next morning, she was home with her beloved pet, who had survived.

“I am eternally grateful for them and my boyfriend. He really is a hero, ”said Przybyl. “I cry just to talk about it. … There was a lot of panic and regret.

She reported the incident to San Francisco Animal Care & Control, and although Przybyl considers herself lucky, Deb Campbell, spokesperson for the facility, said there were several reasons the coyotes might get too close. near to feel comfortable in the city.

Many puppies born last spring are scattering now, so it’s “quite common” to encounter groups of similarly littered coyotes traveling together in packs in search of new territories, she explained. A litter of seven coyote puppies was spotted in the Golden Gate Park Botanical Gardens last May, and two popular Presidio trails temporarily closed dogs during “whelping season” – which runs from April to April. fall – because some of the coyote den sites were on the golf course.

A litter of seven coyote puppies seen in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, May 2021.

San Francisco Parks and Recreation

Another factor could be the ongoing pandemic. The animals had gotten used to the city’s streets, yards and even empty rooftops, but as people return to work and traffic increases, Campbell said Animal Care & Control has “picked up more coyotes dead than ever before ”.

“A lot of them have been hit by cars – it can happen when they disperse and head into uncharted territory,” she said. “I believe we have had 24 deaths this year. Usually it’s 16 or 17, certainly no more than 20.

The bigger problem, however, said Campbell, is that the residents have “befriended and fed” the coyotes, which in turn causes the naturally nervous animals to lose their fear of humans and even seek them out. (Last August, Animal Care & Control was looking for a woman who allegedly fed coyote meat on Bernal Hill.)

“It’s endemic and it’s hard to manage. We get reports on a daily basis, ”said Campbell. “It’s ridiculous – people throw Chicken McNuggets out their car windows and the coyotes are waiting for them. “

It is also illegal. People caught feeding coyotes could face fines of up to $ 1,000 or jail time, Campbell said. “But it’s hard to catch people in the act,” she added.

At the same time, people inadvertently lure coyotes into their backyards – by feeding their pets outside and not cleaning up finicky bits of food or fallen seeds from bird feeders. (“These attract birds, rats, and mice, which in turn attract coyotes,” Campbell said.) Coyotes will also seek overgrown land for their dens.

A Californian coyote on the run.

A Californian coyote on the run.

ROBYN BECK / AFP via Getty Images

Campbell added that coyotes don’t know how to tell prey apart – small dogs, cats and squirrels are all the same for them. If a coyote is already used to associating humans with “free gifts” and meets someone with a pet, they will likely perceive that animal as their next meal, she explained.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “No one wants someone’s pet to be injured or killed by a coyote.”

If you see a coyote, Campbell recommends “hazing” it in any way you can: yell at it. Pop opens an umbrella. A whistle.

And if you’re out with a dog or other pet, she recommends that you keep them on a leash and take something with you that might scare a coyote.

“Be an observer. Be vigilant. And call us if there is an animal-related emergency,” she said. “People can report sightings, which we are evaluating to see where hot spots develop and determine where more signage is needed. ”

Coniferous lawn in the western part of the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park.

Coniferous lawn in the western part of the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park.

Patricia Chang / SFGATE Special

Some of these hot spots have been located in parts of the city such as Lake Merced, Stern Grove, Golden Gate Park and Potrero Hill, she said.

While it is difficult to keep track of each animal individually, Campbell estimates that fewer than 100 coyotes live in San Francisco, where they began building dens in the early 2000s after police stopped killing animals that crossed. the Golden Gate Bridge in the city.

“They found what they wanted here and they are comfortable, which is why we always tell people not to feed them,” she said.

Especially after experiencing their own close encounter, Perzybyl agrees.

“They are not dogs. When you see one, it’s not an opportunity for a pretty Instagram pic, “she said.” People need to be aware that these coyotes don’t play. The more attention you pay to them, the more they are. feel comfortable. They are wild animals, and we have to make them fear us again. ”

Source link

Comments are closed.