Coyotes Attack From Behind

Walking my dog and coyotes attack

My dog Dakota and I were walking along the trails behind the BG Fitness Center and the Park District golf dome today when we were attacked from behind by two coyotes.  Dakota is not a small dog, she's part siberian husky/whippet mix and weighs 38 pounds.  

We walk these trails at least 3 times a week and we've had coyote sitings for well over a year along this same trail.  Just six weeks ago I notified the village by email that Dakota and I were alerted to sounds of what seemed like little dogs barking and then the howls.  I knew instantly it was coyotes and I wrote the village asking them to at least put up a sign that there was a coyote den so people would be alerted.  I received a reply back that the village didn't own the land, the park district does and they'd forward the email onto them. 

Following the advice of all the warnings on what to do when confronted with coyotes, I've either yelled at the top of my lungs if nowhere to run, I carry a big stick or usually I turn around and avoid their area.  Today as we were on the path I saw the two coyotes 30 feet in front of me and turned around.  I didn't want Dakota to notice so I'm quick about it.  I decide to do the lower half of the park area and making my second loop near the bike park out of nowhere Dakota yanks me backward, I fall to the ground and I see the coyotes.  I scream, one runs away but Dakota has already attacked the other coyote.  Because the yank was so hard the retractable leash flew out of my hand and I believe it hit the coyote in the head causing it to run away.  All the while I'm screaming.  Luckily Dakota was wearing a harness because it appears the coyote bit through the harness and the metal clip prevented Dakota's skin from being ripped open.  Dakota had a mouth full of hair from the coyote but appears to be okay. 

After following up with the vet and getting Dakota settled, I went to the park district to let them know what happened.  I did this because according to the email reply I received weeks ago, the village couldn't help me.  Not that a sign is going to do anything but at least people who aren't familiar with the area will be warned, there are a ton of kids on these paths daily!  Since informing the park district, I've spoken with a village representative and the police department.  I joked with the police dept because not sure what they can do about it.  But I filed a report.  What's truly scary is the coyotes had to track us to come up from behind.  That's aggressive behavior and thats what is so alarming.   I'm told that the coyote dens can't be removed because they're protected.   I'm not trying to place blame on anyone - it's no ones fault.  My concern is that just doing our own due diliegence isn't working.  The coyotes are aggressive enough they wanted my dog who was within six feet of me and on a leash. 

The village highlights our beautiful trails on their website as an ammenity to our community.  If it's not the villages responsibility to keep us safe, the park district has no jurisidiction over a coyote den and the police can only take a report - who is responsible for protecting the citizens against what is becoming a real concern?  What if it's a child walking their dog next time or kids just hanging out on the trails?  Why are the coyote dens protected but the citizens aren't?


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Art October 18, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Danette - that must have been terrifying! But I do have to ask - if you already knew there was an issue in that particular area, why would you walk your dog there? Why wouldn't you simply avoid the area where you had evidence of coyotes living?
Marla October 18, 2012 at 09:59 PM
I'm wondering the same, if you know there are coyotes in that area, why hang out there with your dog.
A Dog Lover October 18, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I live in Strathmore and you can see coyotes just walking down the streets here esp in the morning and evenings!!!
Danette Hayes October 18, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Art - thank you and you ask a legitimate question. I was afraid of walking in this area because of the coyotes but I was told that not to worry, they're not aggressive and won't hurt humans as long as we stay on the trails. Even all the media surrounding the coyote influx alludes to this. Although the coyotes are definitely by the dome and in the park, they're also in our neighborhood and I've had them in my backyard. So if I can't walk my dog safely in my neighborhood which includes the park, where am I supposed to walk my dog? I was given the impression that although we (village response) know they're there, you're okay because they won't hurt humans. Rest assured my dog and I won't be walking in the neighborhood or the park anymore. The good news is the Park District responded very quickly today and have since put up signs letting people know the coyotes are there. However the sign just says don't get off the trail. Do you have a suggestion?
Joy October 18, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Agree with the other two people if you know coyotes has been spotted there by you before you could have taken a different path to walk your dog! Yes you could only put blame on yourself! Yes they should have a coyote warning sign -walk this path you'll be taking a risk ' wild animals should be protected they should be able to live here as well!
Cristel Mohrman (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Thanks for sharing this story, Danette! How scary! I ran over to the park this afternoon and saw a coyote standing right next to the golf dome! I'll have a follow-up story soon with the park district's response.
Danette Hayes October 18, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Joy - the point of the article isn't to place blame it's to alert the public that the coyotes that you feel should be protected and have the right to roam free, aren't as passive as the media and enforcement have told us they are. As I noted, when I saw the coyotes 30 ft ahead, I turned around and walked away. I'm not looking for sympathy and I don't need to be "shamed" - I'm merely trying to let people know that the coyotes are aggressive. I took another path and they followed me. So if it wasn't me today, it could've been any number of people or a child, who are walking their animals on these trails every day. I'm not okay with wild animals having free rein while our domestic animals are subjected to fenced in yards or dog parks. I think dogs deserve the same if not more courtesy and protection we're giving coyotes.
Art October 18, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Danette - my only thought is that this is really a nature trail, and that you had already been experiencing contact for some time (sightings over a year, and audible evidence for six weeks). That should have told you it was not appropriate to bring your dog there. Plus, the coyotes did not attack, from your description Dakota actually was the aggressor towards them. Coyote mating is usually in February, pups are usually born March to mid-May, so they should actually be pretty well grown by now. Coyotes usually only use a den during mating and gestation time. I am NOT saying it wasn't something to be concerned about, nor that you shouldn't be able to walk anywhere without concern. I just would not have put myself and my dog into an area you already knew was a likely problem. The signs are good to alert people, but it won't stop any contact unless the coyotes can read them too.
Makayla Cansler October 18, 2012 at 11:13 PM
People can judge all they want. This was a trail that children, animals, elders, adults etc. all utilize. Telling someone not to walk on a trail that is intended for humans to walk on is as stupid as those saying you should blame yourself for this attack. When coyotes are in my backyard, which they are frequently, do you mean to tell me I should find another backyard? Sounds stupid.. I know. They are everywhere..you can't hide from them all! Glad you are ok and I'm glad Dakota protected herself and you. Anyone else in that situation would have done the same and you would all be lying if you say differently. Call me angry but its unbelieveable people would even dare say it's her fault or that Dakota was the aggressor! Of course she was... 2 coyotes wanted to attack her.. Not sneak up for a quick play date! Good grief.
Nate October 18, 2012 at 11:24 PM
The point of the story is to warn people of the dangers, not bash coyotes! I run in a forest preserve filled with coyotes, I know the dangers, if I get attacked its on me, but it doesn't mean i'm going to keep quiet and not warn people!
Sheridan Haynes October 18, 2012 at 11:48 PM
The problem is Nate is that this is a very open and public trail in the middle of a suburb. And the coyotes should be removed if they're walking through people's backyards and parking lots where young children are present and have been known to attack dogs and small children then they need to be moved to an area where the public and coyotes are safe. It's a public safety risk and I will be petitioning to have them removed to a safer area where they are free to roam. And it was not the dog's fault... if it's two against one then you always know it's the two that started it, the coyotes smelled the scent and were hungry, end of story. The dog was only protecting herself and Danette. There are many other cases like this and thankfully a citizen finally had the courage to speak up about it.
cdmarlowe October 18, 2012 at 11:49 PM
How frightening! Thank you for alerting us. We live in the Prairie Grove subdivision and see them all the time as they come from Didier Farms. I am nervous about walking my 20 lb dog at night. I'm surprised they were interested in yours. They are getting too bold!
Cicada October 19, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Over by the Buffalo Creek Nature Preserve there were warning signs at one point about a coyote den in the area so the village does have signs for their land. I believe the village news letter and police blotter e-mail have also warned about coyotes in the past. I've heard coyotes don't bother people, they feel threatened by the dogs. Perhaps you can take you dog to the dog park by the train station instead.
Patrick Madigan October 19, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Thank you Danette, I live in Old Farm, and there is a coyote den under the high tension wire, and I see them every now and then walk through my back yard. It is truely too bad that they don't like skunks, because they are even more plentiful than ever as well.
J October 19, 2012 at 03:35 AM
http://www.lcfpd.org/docs/media_pub_25097.pdf What can be done to prevent any unwanted contact and protect pets and coyotes? "By keeping dogs on a leash and staying on designated trails, contact with coyotes can generally be avoided. Always supervise your dog closely in areas where coyotes are present, even your backyard. Coyotes are not afraid of your dog, but they are afraid of you. If a coyote approaches your dog, scare away the coyote. If there are food sources around your house or neighboring houses (e.g. bird feed, untidy garbage cans, food left out for pets), a coyote will take advantage of it when people are not around. These types of food sources are unnatural and will teach the coyote that if it risks coming close to humans it will be rewarded with food. It is very important to keep the area around your house free of these food sources." -- Yup.. here is yet more proof that the bird feeders should be regulated within the Buffalo Grove Areas.
Larry October 19, 2012 at 07:08 AM
I live next to the dog park and have had numerous encounters with coyotes here because of the prairie just south. There have been as many as five in the pack and last year three were attempting to attack my 100# lab/dobie mix. They didn't run away whe confronted my a screaming human and it wasn't at we went after them with sticks that they left. They have also stalked us while walking our 10# dog. Again PD can't do anything. So I am on patrol and my back yard it light up like a baseball diamond.
RELENTLESSCRITIC October 19, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Try getting a small air horn from a sporting goods store. You can hold them in your hand, and they are REALLY loud, so they'd probably scare the heck out of the coyotes. I also know that some people carry pepper spray or mace, which would probably do the trick as well.
Linda Karamitis October 19, 2012 at 03:49 PM
There is a guy that will trap the coyotes and take them far far away to a far away place. It cost $1500 for the trap and then additional funds after that. he claims they are not protected such as everyone seems to believe.
SteveG October 19, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Just some basic Cook County research concerning Coyotes, relocation, and other facts ... http://www.urbancoyoteresearch.com/Management.htm Illinois state recommendations: Furbearers include raccoons, opossums, skunks, beavers, muskrats, coyotes, red foxes, gray foxes, mink, river otters, badgers, weasels, and bobcats. In urban or suburban areas, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) recommends hiring a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (NWCO) to remove furbearers that are damaging property or causing risks to human health or safety. Landowners and tenants who want to remove furbearers themselves should contact an IDNR District Wildlife Biologist to see if they qualify for a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit. Link to NWCO resources: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/professionals.cfm#nwco Buffalo Grove Recommendations: http://www.vbg.org/index.aspx?NID=237 Dicks sporting goods sells "Mace Bear Pepper Spray" which has a 35 ft range. Walmart also sells Pepper Spray. Both resellers offer varieties that offer less concentrated irritants and spray range and are cheaper.
Penny Novy October 19, 2012 at 09:32 PM
I agree with Makayla. This is an area well used by a lot of people, and we should be thanking Danette for being so vigilant in getting the word out that there are coyotes living in that area and trying to get village officials and the park district to do more than just sit around. This is the very first I've heard of ANY coyote sitings in Buffalo Grove. What if this had been a couple of grade school children instead of Danette and her protector, Dakota? And, yes, Dakota did her job and did it well--she chased off animals that were going to attack her and her owner. The moral of this story is--there can be and are coyotes anywhere in Buffalo Grove, so it doesn't matter where you walk your dog, you must be cautious.
Dolly October 20, 2012 at 05:44 AM
I wonder if those electronic repellants work? Shell Oil had a brochure in their bill selling for $19.95. They keep cats, raccoons, skunks, possum away. A few years ago, a wolf was seen walking down Ridgefield Lane near Checker Drive.
Susan November 06, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Yes, a couple of years ago I saw a wolf walking on the trail next to the pond at the Delacourte complex by Weidner and Dundee Roads.
randall richardson February 14, 2013 at 03:37 PM
It's unlikely that you saw a wolf in these parts. There are NO wolves in Illinois, most especially in populated areas. Probably a coyote. We have lived in BG for 27 years and have been seeing coyotes for years. If you walk at night, take a flashlight and look for them. You will see them. They are watching you. Even in the residential neighborhoods. The problem is that they are getting used to seeing people and thats where the aggressiveness comes into the picture. There are millions of acres away from towns that these animals can live and raise litters. I'm not saying we should exterminate them but we shouldn't have to tolerate their aggressiveness right in our own backyards. Wait until a small child gets attacked. It could happen! I grew up in farming country and when the coyote population became a problem, such as killing sheep, chickens and even small calves, we went on hunts and thinned out the population. The problems lessened until the coyote population restored itself, which it always did.
Cristel Mohrman (Editor) February 25, 2013 at 10:48 PM
I continue to hear reports of coyotes in our area. If you've seen one, please add a marker on this map to show us where it was! http://buffalogrove.patch.com/articles/where-have-you-spotted-coyotes-in-buffalo-grove
Paul Kozem February 26, 2013 at 05:03 PM
why do we have to live in fear of them ? carry pepper spray, ( oven spray will work too) these are not dogs, they are savage predators that would gladly kill YOU if they were big enough. A small pistol would be nice if you ever get conceal carry in Illinois.
Paul Kozem February 26, 2013 at 05:11 PM
What kind of nation of cowards have we become that we let coyotes dictate how we move about? Are going to let our children be endangered by a a rabid coyete at the playground or soceer field? Or even your own back yard? Pepper spray works on bears in Alaska, so its advisable at the least to be armed with it and a whistle.
Kalen Carlson May 05, 2013 at 02:21 AM
I just had an encounter with a coyote on a BG trail today. Walking with my 30 pound dog and a coyote came up from behind and nudged my dog- he ran off to the side of the trail and watched us. I yelled at the coyote and that frightened him for a minute, but he kept following us. I continued to yell and then started to run. The coyote chased us. He was really close to my dog and was showing his teeth. I was screaming for help. The worst part of this is that I am 30 weeks pregnant. I came to this trail thinking I would be safe as there are usually a lot of people around. Thankfully, I finally came upon a road and some people. I was hysterical. These kind people waited with me while my husband came to pick me up. I called the BG police and reported this, but they said they really couldn't do anything. Not only do I feel violated, I am angry that I no longer have courage to take a walk with my dog. It's a horrible situation and feel that citizens need to stand up and make something happen. We should not have to live like this. If I knew that a coyote would be this aggressive, I would have carried a weapon or just walked in my neighborhood (though they are also in my neighborhood). So, I appreciate Danette's attempts to alert people are very good. I just wish the media would highlight how aggressive they've become.


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