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PLYMOUTH - A local family will have a beloved member home for the holidays after a frightening encounter.
It was a normal morning for Jessica Groves and her husband up at 3 a.m. for work and as they do every day they let the family dog Maggie - a miniature schnauzer - outside. While Maggie normally comes back inside just a few minutes later, this particular morning it was nearly 4 a.m. and when she returned she was terribly injured and bleeding.
An emergency surgery at the vet later, Maggie fortunately was able to return home within several days a survivor of her confrontation with coyotes.
â€śWeâ€™ve lived here over 10 years and weâ€™d hear them around us a lot but this is the first time theyâ€™ve ever come on the property,â€ť said Jessica. â€śWe have campfires outdoors and all sorts of other things and this is the first time theyâ€™ve been this close. They normally stay in the distance.â€ť
The coyote of Hollywood is a lone howling creature in Westerns. The reality is a little different. The animals are very common to Indiana.
â€śThey are very adaptable animals,â€ť said Shawn Rossler, a biologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. â€śYou can find them in all sorts of different habitats even in urban areas. They do really well as long as there is a source of food and water.â€ť
While sightings of the animals are common, confrontation with humans is not.
â€śNormally youâ€™ll have no interaction. They avoid people,â€ť said Rossler. â€śThe problems you find is if there is a food source, like dog food near a home, or perhaps small mammals or birds they can hunt for food. They are very territorial so any interaction with domesticated animals usually ends up badly.â€ť
Rossler says that while the animals deserve a healthy respect, humans donâ€™t need to fear them.
â€śMost of the time they arenâ€™t necessarily dangerous,â€ť he said. â€śIf you encounter a coyote you should be bold but not aggressive. Make some noise, yell - something like that. January and February is breeding time so we usually see a spike in contact at that time of year with humans.â€ť
Unfortunately a small dog like Maggie is the type of animal that coyotes will attack. The family is simply glad to have her home.
â€śShe had a lot of muscle damage and it was obvious they had thrown her around,â€ť said Jessica. â€śWe have a couple of skids over by some pine trees on our property I think she was able to hide there until they went away. I have no idea how she got away. Weâ€™re glad she did.â€ť