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Heroic pup loses coyote battle

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Sadly, Helen Woodward’s Companion Animal Hospital lost a dear client due to a coyote attack on Wednesday, January 22nd. Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) wants to get the word out to other resident in the Rancho Santa Fe, California area in order to prevent future attacks and sadness for potential victims’ families.

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Wyatt, a three-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, protected his canine siblings to the death against a vicious coyote that leapt their seven-foot steel fence in order to get to the four dogs enclosed within. The other dogs included two-year-old Dachshund, Heiny (Wyatt’s best friend), eight-year-old Poodle, Lily, and nine-year-old Shih Tzu, Mikey.

The attack happened exactly one year ago to the week from when Sophie, a heroic two-year-old Maltipoo arrived at HWAC after protecting her seven-month old puppy sibling from a vicious coyote. Thankfully in that incident, both dogs were able to survive the attack. Sophie’s story became national news.

This déjà vu incident was much more tragic for Evon Werner, the Rancho Santa Fe resident who was the human companion to the four dogs attacked on Wednesday. The veterinary staff of the Center’s affiliated hospital is also experiencing the loss of Wyatt since they dedicate themselves to the animals and love them unconditionally before and after they leave Helen Woodward for their new forever homes. Werner’s canines not only visited the Center’s Companion Animal Hospital, but their Club Pet facility as well, so the loss runs deep!

The terrifying attack happened in broad daylight which added to Werner’s devastation, but was also upsetting to her neighbors that witnessed the attack. This pet parent reported that she left her home around 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning to run an errand. She did not expect to be gone long, so she left her four precious canines out back in her seven-foot high fenced in yard.

Upon arriving less than an hour later, neighbors were there to explain about the loud ruckus that took place in her yard while she was away. The neighbors looked out their windows to see what the noise was all about and saw the coyote casually leaping over the high fence and attacking and killing Wyatt.

It was not surprising to Werner that Wyatt was killed because the Jack Russell was incredibly close to Heiny, the Dachshund, who was also attacked. Although Heiny suffered bite wounds to his stomach and shoulder, he survived. The sister dog, Lily, also was attacked and luckily survived as her wounds were more severe to her head and neck.

A coyote bite to the neck tends to be fatal as coyotes instinctually break the necks of their victims. “I’m sure he was protecting them,” said Werner. “He was fearless. He had to distract the coyote to save them.”

Heiny and Lily received treatment for their wounds at Helen Woodward’s Companion Animal Hospital early Wednesday afternoon and are currently on antibiotics and pain medication. Mikey, thankfully, was not injured in the attack. All three of the dogs however, and especially Werner, are experiencing the pain of the loss of Wyatt. “He wasn’t just a pet,” explained Werner. “He was our family.”

As you may be aware, daytime coyote attacks are generally rare, but coyotes are getting braver. Evon Werner wants to help HWAC remind other pet families that it is coyote season. There are some basic precautions that pet owners can take to protect their beloved furry friends. Helen Woodward Animal Center and the Companion Animal Hospital want to offer the following tips:

· Use caution from dusk until dawn:
Pets should be kept indoors between the hours of dusk and early morning. If your dog needs to relieve himself during these hours, accompany him on a short leash.

· Avoid taking your dog on a nighttime walk:
Nighttime is the prime time Coyotes hunt for food. If you must take your puppy on an evening walk, use a very short leash.

· Install a fence:
Backyard fences should be at least 6 feet high to prevent coyotes from leaping over. Coyotes are also known to dig, so installing vinyl lattice 2 to 3 feet below ground is suggested to prevent tunneling.

· Leave no food in your yard:
This includes always feeding your dog inside; cleaning the yard of any fallen apples, berries or other fruits from existing fruit trees and; securing the lids on all garbage cans.

For more information about the Helen Woodward Animal Center Companion Animal Hospital, visit www.animalcenter.org, call 858-756-4159 or stop by at 6523 Helen Woodward Way Suite 200 in Rancho Santa Fe. Please be careful out there!

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