A heartbroken Barrhaven couple is warning other pet owners to beware of coyotes after one of their dogs was attacked and killed earlier this week.
Shannon Haubrick was out walking her dogs, Yukon and Dodger, in a field between Merivale Road and Woodroffe Avenue late Monday afternoon when the encounter occurred. The dogs were off leash.
Suddenly, Haubrick, an RCMP officer, noticed Dodger, a seven-year-old terrier-blue heeler cross, acting strangely.
"I heard these 'yipes' and I looked down and saw these two dark shapes that looked like German shepherds, so I knew right away they were coyotes," she said.
Both dogs disappeared from Haubrick's sight. When she called them back, only Yukon returned. Haubrick said she continued calling Dodger for an hour and a half, but eventually returned home to get help from her husband, Shane Letendre, also an RCMP officer.
'It can happen very quickly'
Before being posted to Ottawa, the couple worked in rural B.C., where they often had to confront wildlife including bears as part of the job. Still, Letendre said he was surprised when he returned to the field to find the coyotes still there, and seemingly unafraid of him.
Letendre said he got within 20 metres of one of the animals before it would trot ahead a few paces, then turn to look back at him. That's when he noticed the second coyote slinking along the edge of the brush that borders the field, closing in.
For Letendre, it was an uncomfortable moment.
"It can happen very quickly, and by then you're reacting," he said.
Succumbed to injuries
The couple is expressing gratitude to Tammy Bradley and her family, who found Dodger badly wounded but still alive. The Bradleys kept the injured dog wrapped in blankets until he could be taken to a veterinarian, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Haubrick now thinks Dodger may have been protecting her from the coyotes, and feels guilty for what happened.
"I feel bad for taking him out there," she said. "It adds more pain to it."
People in other parts of the city have been sharing similar stories of unsettlingly bold coyotes. One widely shared photo shows a large coyote standing in front of a house on Whitestone Drive in Central Park, well inside Ottawa's Greenbelt. There have been other sightings in the Central Experimental Farm area.
"It worries me that they may be tame or used to humans," said River Ward Coun. Riley Brockington.
Brockington has been urging residents to keep small dogs on leash, and to make sure they don't leave out food waste that may attract wildlife.