After coyote attacks, neighbors warn against letting dogs out unattended

Several dogs have recently been attacked around Thompson’s Point Road. Coyotes are thought to be the culprits.

At least two dogs were seriously injured and one died.

The dogs’ owners say they don’t support the killing of coyotes, but warn other dog owners to keep their dogs inside unless you are with them.

Katherine Arthaud, whose 2 1/2-year-old miniature Australian shepherd Xander was attacked on an early April morning and seriously injured, said she has heard of three dog attacks in a 1 1/2 mile radius of her Lake Road home.

On the morning of April 5, she let her three dogs out at 7 a.m. when it was already light outside. When she called a little bit later, only two of her dogs came right away. Then Xander walked in covered in blood.

He had serious puncture wounds in several places, including his throat. Arthaud immediately drove Xander to a vet in Williston, who said his injuries were more serious than they were equipped to treat. The vet immediately sent Arthaud to Tufts University’s Foster Hospital for Small Animals near Boston.

It was a tense drive and Xander spent several nights in the hospital, but he’s back at home. Arthaud is in the process of getting a fence built.


“People should really be aware. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is,” Arthaud said.

Liz and Jim Foster had only been back from Florida in their home on Black Willow Lane on Thompson’s Point for a few days. She had not yet heard about other dogs being attacked, so they followed their rule of thumb of not letting their dogs out, unless it is broad daylight.

That rule didn’t factor in, she said, on a recent morning when they let Poppy, their Chihuahua-dachshund rescue mix, out after daylight.

While Poppy was out, Jim Foster had a premonition that something might not be right, so she went to get Poppy. Unfortunately, Poppy had already been killed. In the morning light, Liz could see the attacker run off. Although she thinks it was a coyote, it might have a good bit of wolf DNA because it looked to be about 70 pounds.

About 10 years ago, the Fosters had a Jack Russell terrier named Jasmine who was in the jaws of a coyote when they went to call her in. Their much larger 80-pound bouvier, who they didn’t even realize was outside, came running and slammed into the body of the coyote. The coyote dropped Jasmine. Their big dog chased the coyote off, and Jasmine turned out OK.

For a good while after that, the Fosters had a policy of always having larger and smaller dogs, but since they’ve been spending more time in Florida have found themselves with small dogs for ease of travel.

“We’re in coyote country. We’re in their yards, so to speak. People just have to be aware,” Liz Foster said. “Put your dog on a leash.”

Although she is very upset to have lost Poppy, she appreciates having a home where wild things are. She doesn’t think killing coyotes will help the situation.

“The coyotes are always going to have the last word,” Foster said. “So, I’m going to be a lot more savvy, or as savvy as I can be.”

In 2019, coyote expert Chris Schadler gave a talk at the Shelburne Town Hall where she said killing coyotes actually leads to more coyotes. A stable pack of coyotes is just one breeding pair with usually just four coyotes. The majority of females don’t ever breed.

Schadler said that killing coyotes destabilizes the pack and female pups start to breed more and earlier.

“Don’t hunt them, and you’ll have fewer. If you hunt them, you’ll have more,” Schadler said.

Megan Mann said her at least 35-pound cockapoo was attacked at the end of January around 7 p.m. on Thompson’s Point. She thinks the coyotes live in woods east of Point Bay Marina. There are trails there Mann thinks might be from coyotes.

Her husband heard a yip. When he found their dog Taco, he had about 50 puncture wounds. Taco is healed now, but that came after some expensive vet bills.

Mann warns people not to let their dogs out alone, even if you think they are big enough. She thinks it was several coyotes who attacked Taco, so size might not matter.

“Do I like coyotes? Definitely no. But it is their territory,” Mann said. However, she wouldn’t grieve if this pack of coyotes was gone.

The veterinarians told the Manns Taco only had a 10-percent chance of surviving on his first night there. The vets were worried that his neck was broken, and he had over 50 puncture wounds.

For a couple of weeks before the attack, in the evening, she said Taco “would be really jazzed to go out.” Now, not so much. She wonders if the coyotes were luring him out, although she’s been told that’s probably not so.

“I would strongly recommend getting pet insurance if you do let your pets out,” Mann said. “I kind of wish I did.”