small black and tan dog
Jack ©Teresa Elliott

Coyote Activity on the Rise

Beloved family dog killed in early morning coyote attack

A casual scroll through and you see numerous posts about coyote sightings. Winter and early Spring lead to increased coyote activity as coyote mating season leads to whelping season. While coyotes aren’t native to Ohio, they are here and can be found in all 88 counties in both rural and urban areas. Coyotes are nocturnal, so are especially active at night and in the early morning hours, but it’s not unusual for a coyote to be spotted during daytime hours.

Coyotes can adapt to thrive in any environment.

Coyotes become bolder when they are breeding as they have to feed not only themselves but their young. As a result, you are more likely to encounter a coyote during this time of year, but they are active all year round so sightings at other times are not unlikely. Sadly, a local Greenhills couple recently found out just how bold coyotes can be when their beloved family dog, Jack, was killed in the early morning hours while on a potty break in their backyard. Jack was at the edge of the deck and on a leash no more than seven or eight feet from the back door where Marvin Elliott stood watching him.

Despite the porch light being on, it was still dark and the morning was thick with fog; Jack had moved slightly out of view and that’s when Elliott heard him make a faint yelp. He tried to pull Jack back towards him, but there was just weight at the end—a feeling he will never forget. Jack was barely breathing; his neck was bleeding. Elliott brought Jack into the house and woke his wife, Teresa, an RN, but there was nothing that could be done.

©Teresa Elliott

According to Teresa Elliott, the injuries on Jack’s neck looked like the coyote had tried to pull him away, but Jack was on the lead. Even though the porch light was on, the area where Jack was, was still dark; Marvin Elliott is blind in one eye so between the thick fog, the dark, and his limited vision there was no way to prevent the attack from happening, especially since it happened in an instant.

Jack, was a small dog, around 12 pounds, but such an attack could happen to any sized dog though not necessarily with the same outcome. He was also a senior, only just beginning to get some cataracts, but his hearing was still okay, according to Teresa Elliott. He was a friendly dog that loved playing with other dogs. He was great around kids and will be missed not only by the Elliotts but their seven grandchildren as well.

The Elliotts with Jack

The Elliotts have lived in their Greenhills home for fifteen years and—while they’ve seen the coyotes before—they always thought they could protect Jack from them.

What to do if a coyote is in your backyard

  • Identify that what you’re seeing is truly a coyote and not a stray dog.
  • Remove all attractants including garbage and pet food, and clean up around your grill.
  • Keep cats and small dogs inside. Make sure to stay with your dogs and keep them within sight, especially at night.
  • Try to scare off the coyotes by making noises, such as clapping your hands or shouting at them. For more tips, read our article on coyote safety.

If you have coyotes that are a nuisance, visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife for more information on what to do.

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