My family recently visited the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, which boasts a lot of coast, and a little sunshine. Before heading north, my mom read the local newspaper and forwarded a story entitled ‘Brazen’ coyotes snatch toy poodle from B.C. store in broad daylight:
Alaina Russell had just started her shift at her mother’s store, Carola’s Quilt Shop, in Gibsons on Friday when she saw a scrawny, mangy coyote pacing in the parking lot out front.
Russell had brought her toy poodle, Nicky, to work that day and she searched for him, to make sure he was safe. Turning back a moment later, she was horrified to see another coyote sauntering out the front door with her eight-pound, nine-year-old black poodle in its mouth.
‘Coyote bites dog’ is hardly a headline; British Columbia is crawling with coyotes, and one of them attacking a small pet is nothing new:
Urban sightings of the province’s estimated 2,000-3,000 [Editor’s note: the BC Ministry of Environment estimates the number is actually as high as 6,000] coyotes are becoming more common, according to the B.C. SPCA. They typically prefer living in grasslands and at the edge of forests, but will travel for food. Attacks on humans are very rare, but less rare are attacks on smaller animals like pets.
Coyotes have been spotted along the highway, at the gas station, at the grocery store. Customers are bringing tales of other dogs disappearing and there are Missing Cat posters all over town, Russell said. A neighbour told her he saw three coyotes hanging around his yard Friday morning.
“It’s almost like they were casing the joint,” Russell said.
What made the story newsworthy was that the coyote snatched its prey in broad daylight, in front of numerous people, and most significantly, extracted it from inside a building:
The attack on Friday was shocking to the customers and Russell’s mom, and even people on the highway who stopped to stare.
“It goes through our heads again and again, it’s so unbelievable,” said Carola Russell, who owns the store.
So what did the Russell family do, confronted by a coyote population so bold, so unintimidated by human presence, that it thought nothing of entering a building and carrying off a small dog?
They decided to feed it.
Russell and her mom took the day off Sunday, spending it with new rescue dog Dolly, an 11-month-old Shih Tzu the family brought home from the pound on Saturday.
This will certainly end well: