Newspaper Article: Coyote Attacks Dog

October 4, 2017 article in the Chronicle Herald about a dog surviving an attack, in it’s own backyard, by a coyote in Eastern Passage, NS. We see very few of these types of attacks, but I think the important things to note are that Coyotes have been heard in the area lately, the dog was off leash, and an e-fence was in use – that means the dog would be unlikely to leave the property but it does not stop wildlife or predators from coming onto the property.

The article references local wildlife experts who encourage folks to educate themselves on how to stay safe while living next to wildlife habitat (this dogs home is surrounded by woodland). We understand and appreciate that every situation is not avoidable and we are not pointing fingers. However, we do want people to learn from these experiences and to engage all possible preventative measures to keep their pets safe.

We wish Daisy a full and speedy recovery from her horrible experience.

Eastern Passage dog recovering after backyard coyote attack


Daisy recovers at home after major surgery resulting from a coyote attack in her backyard. (DAWN HARMES)


Dawn Harmes’s dog Daisy is facing a long recovery after a harrowing coyote attack.

Harmes let Daisy out of her Eastern Passage home for a little backyard exercise at about 6:45 Friday evening. There are extensive woods around the property but Harmes has an underground electric fence so Daisy won’t go too far.

“The last month or so, I’ve been hearing the coyotes kind of on a regular basis at night,” Harmes said on Wednesday. “So the last week or so, I wasn’t letting her out by herself. I was either taking her out on a leash or I was going out with her.”

On Friday, she went out with Daisy but the dog wasn’t on a leash.

Daisy is a beagle-Jack Russell terrier mix and moves pretty fast.

“It was less than two minutes from going out the front door. I was looking . . . to see where she went and I heard her yelping.”

The attack

She started running toward where the yelping was coming from, and found Daisy with the coyote.

“She had gotten away from it, but I don’t know if she had done it on her own or maybe because I had started screaming and startled the coyote or what.

“The coyote, he didn’t even run. He turned and just walked back into the woods. (Daisy) ran to the house and I came running behind her.”

That’s when Harmes saw the trail of blood.

She didn’t know the extent of the injuries at the time, but knew it was bad. Too shaken to drive, she called her father, who lives nearby, to help her rush Daisy to the Eastern Passage Village Veterinary Hospital.

“I was standing in the doorway, waiting for my father to come get us, and the coyote walked across the front yard. It freaked me right out.”

Her father came within 10 minutes, though, and they took their wounded charge to the vet.

The aftermath

Harmes said the vet told her she could clean Daisy’s injuries and stitch up some punctures. But the bites had punctured through her abdominal wall, threatening internal damage and the risk of infection from bacteria in the air and whatever might have been transferred from the coyote’s teeth.

They had to take Daisy to the Metro Animal Emergency Clinic in Burnside for surgery.

Daisy suffered a punctured kidney and severe muscle damage because of the coyote attack, and the risk of infection is very high for the 12-year-old beagle-Jack Russell terrier mix. (DAWN HARMES)

There, Harmes learned the situation was dire. Daisy is 12-and-a-half years old and has a heart condition. The doctor asked her to consider making the most difficult decision any pet owner must make. The odds of making it through the surgery were 50-50 and the vet needed to assess the little dog’s quality of life, asking if Daisy had mobility issues.

“I assured her Daisy’s like a puppy,” Harmes said. “She’s bouncy. I think it’s the Jack Russell in her. She just flies around all the time. She doesn’t walk. She runs.”

They decided to go ahead with the surgery.

Harmes said Dr. Karen Kaiser called her at 2 a.m. to say the surgery went well. They opened her up and checked extensively for damage. They found a puncture in her kidney and severe muscle damage on her side.


Daisy is home now but not out of the woods as far as her health is concerned. She must be given pain medication and antibiotics to combat the severe risk of infection.

“She seems to be doing OK. She’s walking around. I’m taking her out to relieve herself and she’s going out.”

But Harmes said Daisy will never have the run of the property again.

Coyote attraction

Butch Galvez, a wildlife technician in Waverley with the Department of Natural Resources, said they see this sort of thing every year. It’s a wooded area, it happened near dark and there was some separation between owner and pet. He said the dog likely knew immediately that the coyote was there and whether it was curiosity or territorial aggression is hard to say.

“It’s an unfortunate incident,” Galvez said. “We do follow up, so I will be going to the community and getting some brochures out. Education is probably the biggest thing, so people who have pets or outdoor cats, they know some basic things to keep their pets safe: Keep your dogs on leash, keep your dog close to you, if you do see a coyote and you have a small dog you can pick it up, make some loud noises, back away, that sort of thing.”

Galvez said he will also talk with residents in the area to see if there have been previous sightings or if someone might have put out food for other wildlife. Even bird seed or apples will attract coyotes.

While Galvez said while attacks on humans are rare, it is recommended that children have basic awareness.

“If they see a strange dog, back away, make noise, act big,” Galvez said. “Also, tell an adult if they ever see a strange-looking dog or coyote. And never run away. Their first instinct may be to run screaming. You never want to run away screaming from a coyote.”




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