Coyotes known to prey on domestic pets |

Coyotes known to prey on domestic pets

Erin Roth

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune file / A coyote hunts mice in a meadow near Fallen Leaf Lake earlier this year.

INCLINE VILLAGE – It was about 8:30 p.m. Monday when Linda Hanowell arrived at her North Shore condo after her trip from the Bay Area.

Her 8-year-old Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Keely, was jumping out of the back of her car “like a jack-in-the box.”

That was the last time she saw her dog alive.

As Hanowell unloaded her things, Keely followed her inside, but when Hanowell turned her back for second, Keely was gone. Then she heard what she describes as a long, sustained yelp.

“It was from a coyote, but it wasn’t the usual ‘yip, yip’ that you hear,” Hanowell said. “I think it was a victory yell.”

In the Chateau parking lot across the street from her condo, Hanowell saw five coyotes surrounding Keely, who lay on the ground on her side.

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She grabbed an ax, jumped in her car, sped toward the coyote pack and called 911.

It was too late, but Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Substation Cmdr. Gregg Lubbe arrived on the scene within minutes.

Lubbe said a coyote snatching up a small animal is not unusual, but what happened next was.

“The coyotes were willing to get pretty darn close,” he said. “They had no fear of us whatsoever. There were three of us with high-powered flashlights, and they were willing to come within a few feet of us – right at us.”

Regional Public Affairs Officer for the USDA’s animal and plant health inspection service Larry Hawkins said the coyotes’ behavior might be easily explained.

“Coyotes are opportunistic predators,” Hawkins said from his office in Sacramento. “(Monday night’s situation) is disturbing to the extent that those animals are very habituated to people – I wouldn’t be surprised if people had been feeding them.”

Hawkins recommends walking dogs before dark.

“Walking dogs after dusk is just an invitation,” he said. “It’s like lunch on a leash. Even a good-sized dog is no match for a coyote, who is accustomed to fighting for a living.”