A lab came to the aid of his “sister,” a Boston Terrier, when the latter was attacked by a coyote that had broken into their family’s backyard in Huntington Beach, California.
Surveillance camera footage shows the coyote jumping over a 6-foot-high wall, running toward the dogs, grabbing the Boston Terrier by the neck and dragging her around the yard. Sadie, the Boston terrier, was shaken by the neck and screaming in pain.
The Labrador, Cody, ran outside to help, barking at the coyote until it dropped Sadie.
“Big brother came to try to save her,” owner Melissa Patriarca told ABC7.
Both Sadie and Cody then chased the coyote away together, their owners said.
Coyotes are a common sight in California, with the California Department of Fish and Game estimating there are between 250,000 and 750,000 individuals in the state. They often kill sheep, calves, and poultry in rural areas, and in urban regions they will often attack and kill domestic house cats, small dogs, large dogs and sometimes even humans.
This is economically hugely damaging: in 2004, coyotes were responsible for 60.5 percent of the 224,000 sheep deaths caused by predation across the whole country. In South Orange County, California, up to five pets are brought into the urgent care vet clinic weekly, most of which are dogs, since house cats don’t usually survive that long.
Sadie has recovered from her ordeal, after taking some antibiotics for her bite wounds. The Patriarcas say that they are glad that that evening they were close by, so that they could hear the barking.
“My heart was breaking when I heard her scream,” Freddy Patriarca told ABC7. “And just knowing that a wild animal like a coyote could just jump the wall so easily, and almost take our loved one away.”
Similarly to other large predators, coyotes are drawn to urban areas by food and garbage, especially pet food. According to Melissa Patriarca, coyotes in Huntington Beach can be seen walking down the street during the day.
“I mean, I’ve seen them by [the] kids’ schools. It’s unsafe,” she told ABC7.
Only a few months ago, a 3-year-old girl was attacked and injured by a coyote in the same town. The neighbor of the Patriarcas, Patrick Taylor, a handyman, told ABC7: “It’s unfortunate. It doesn’t surprise me. I hear them howling on the streets at night or in the wee hours just before sunrise. I’ve seen a huge uptick in the past year where people are calling me on the Nextdoor App to install coyote rollers, heightened fences, chain link, chicken wire.”