British Columbia

Woman, dogs bitten in encounter with pack of 6 aggressive coyotes, pet owners say

Kristin Simkins says she was walking four dogs in Kamloops, B.C., and ended up facing off against a pack of six coyotes that refused to back down, even biting a friend that tried to come to the group's rescue.

While walking 4 dogs in Kamloops, Kristin Simkins faced off against pack that refused to back down

Kristin Simkins found herself and four large dogs under threat from multiple coyotes while the group was walking trails in the Aberdeen neighbourhood of Kamloops, B.C., on July 9. (Shutterstock / karl umbriaco)

Kristin Simkins regularly walks four large dogs along trails in the Aberdeen neighbourhood of Kamloops, B.C., but she says there was nothing regular about last Thursday's walk.

Simkins, who was accompanied by her Labrador and coonhound and two other coonhounds belonging to her friend Shantelle Cooper, was coming to the end of her walk behind Howe Road near Cooper's home when she said she felt something strange.

"The dogs seemed not themselves and I could sense that something was wrong," she said Monday on CBC's Daybreak South. Two of the dogs started barking furiously and then suddenly bolted away, she said.

Simkins said after repeat calling, one of the dogs did return — trailed by two coyotes.

"I could tell that they were not approaching to be friendly. They were on a mission. I felt like they were hungry," she said. 

Simkins said she yelled at the pair of coyotes and one bared its teeth at her but, nevertheless, she ran to collect and control the loose dogs while also trying to phone Cooper for help.

According to Wildsafe B.C., there are more human injuries caused by domestic dogs than coyotes in North America and negative interactions with wildlife that cause injury to pets or people are relatively low. (Harry Collins Photography/Shutterstock)

Calls for backup

Cooper, who lives within earshot of the trails with her husband Jordan Foster, said she got an emergency text without any context and just took off running where she figured Simkins might be, knowing she was on her way to Cooper's home and having spoken to her not long prior.

She said she followed Simkins' screams to the scene.

"It was a life-or-death type of scream," said Cooper, who said, when she found Simkins, she had two dogs with her, but two were still loose. One she found off the trail surrounded by coyotes.

"I ran as fast as i could through this thick brush ... and ended up getting in there and kicking the coyotes as hard as I could to get them away from the dog," said Cooper, adding the coyotes started biting her while she was in the melee.

Kristin Simkins’ chocolate lab who was bit by a coyote while on a walk in trails at the end of Howe Road past the Aberdeen Glen Village mobile home park in Kamloops, B.C. (Facebook/Kristin Nicole)

Somehow, Cooper says, she managed to get a phone call out to Foster, who she said could tell something was wrong but did not know what, and he too instinctively ran into the wooded area that backs onto the couple's property.

Cooper said her husband managed to make the pack back off by screaming, but then one of the dogs broke away and ran after the retreating coyotes. Foster followed.

"At that point I just collapsed and started crying," said Cooper, who said she assumed her dog's death was imminent.

But Foster was able to grab the dog away from what Simkins said had by then grown to a pack of six coyotes. The group managed to make it safely to Foster and Cooper's home, even as they could hear the pack still following them.

No dogs or dog owners were critically hurt, but Simkin's chocolate Lab was wounded on his leg, one of the Foster-Cooper's dogs was bit on the nose, and Cooper herself was bitten on her leg.

Simkins says she wants people to be aware of what happened especially, she said, because she often sees families with young children walking in the area.

According to Vanessa Isnardy with Wildsafe B.C., this time of year is when parent coyotes are fiercly protective as their young pups start to venture forth for the first time on their own. (Shelley Alexander)

Vanessa Isnardy with Wildsafe B.C. said Simkins was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

She said the aggressive behaviour is likely because young coyote pups are starting to search for food themselves near their dens at this time of year and their parents are especially protective. 

Isnardy recommends people walking in coyote territory keep their pets leashed, carry bear spray and be knowledgeable of their surroundings.

With files from Daybreak South

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