The Lapeer County, Michigan Sheriff’s Mounted Unit announced on Sunday that one of their horses died as a result of a predatory coyote attack over the weekend. The horse’s owner, Lapeer County Sheriff Deputy Kallie Meyers, had been keeping the animal in a paddock near a barn on her property. On Sunday afternoon, a pack of five to six coyotes charged onto Meyers’ property and managed to bring the mare down before the owners were able to intervene by releasing their dogs on the predators.
Meyers’ dogs were eventually able to chase the pack off the property, but the horse’s injuries from the attack were too severe and it had to be put down.
“They came in the yard to get our horse,” Bruce Meyers wrote on Facebook. “Within 70 feet of the house. Our dogs went to help, managed to chase them off but one dog is chewed up, others have only a few scratches and minor punctures.”
It was not the first time that the predators have encroached upon the Meyers’ farm in Oxford Township. Kallie Meyers explained that coyotes have killed several farm animals on her property in the past.
“It’s been escalating over the last year,” Meyer told WXYZ.
Meyers previously kept chickens and ducks around the farm but says that she gave up on raising smaller animals after the coyote attacks. She never thought a fully-grown horse would become such easy prey, however. The 27-year-old mare, named K.O. Carmen, had been with the family since the horse was six years old. The animal was being kept to train younger horses with the mounted unit. At the time of the attack, K.O. Carmen was being kept apart from the other horses and was feeding on grain less than 20 feet away from the barn.
“It could have been a kid or adult,” Lt. Bruce Osmon, head of the mounted unit, told MLive.com.
Reports of coyotes attacking large animals in broad daylight are troubling to biologists. Coyotes are known for being shy around humans, and usually limit their hunts to smaller animals at night. In Michigan, it is legal to shoot or trap coyotes year-round on private property and there is no bag limit during regular seasons. Wildlife experts noted that humans and larger animals usually have very little to fear from coyotes.
“If you make a lot of noise and wave your arms, they are going to run,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife technician Jon Curtis. “Usually when they see humans, they’ll book it.”
Like the Meyers, some rural residents and farmers keep guard dogs to keep coyotes away from their property. Wildlife officials say the best way to avoid coyote predation is to keep easily-accessible food out of reach and to invest in coyote-proof barriers.
Image from Facebook