Coyotes have been in the news recently, with separate attacks on dogs in Wayland, Sudbury, and Concord. All are fairly close to home but still remain somewhat abstract. But this past Sunday a coyote incident became real when Dunkin, a chocolate Labrador retriever, had his own encounter and found himself surrounded by at least two coyotes.
The scary thing about this incident is that the coyotes went after a dog the size of Dunkin. Dunkin weighs 77 lbs. and is hardly what could be called a “small dog.” Laura Keating, Dunkin’s owner, said “Never did I think coyotes would go after a big muscular lab, but damn if they didn’t!” The encounter happened in the Clark Conservation Area off Davis Road.
Dunkin ran into the woods and quickly found himself surrounded by two coyotes. Luckily, Laura was walking with four other friends. One friend, Sandy Morvillo, ran towards the area where they suspected Dunkin was and found him facing off against the two coyotes. Sandy charged, yelling and making herself look big and loud. Eventually, the two coyotes were frightened off. Dunkin was clearly rattled, panting, and had a slight limp. Luckily there appeared to be no bite marks. He was exhausted but otherwise unharmed.
Coyotes are getting more and more habituated to living with humans, and similar encounters seem to be happening more often. This time of year the young coyotes have left the den and are establishing their own territories.
The dog walkers at Clark are resolute: the next day their group was out in force, keeping the dogs closer and making more noise as they walked to send a signal to the coyotes that the humans coexist in the neighborhood. It’s important for coyotes to view humans as something to avoid, so the instincts of Dunkin’s friends were spot on: not backing down is important.
Read more about coyotes in these previous articles: