SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - A Chihuahua-Jack Russell Terrier mix named Frankie is recovering from coyote bites.
The 12-year-old dog was attacked around 10 a.m. on Tuesday near the driveway of a secluded home off Cathedral Oaks Road between Turnpike and Patterson Avenue in Santa Barbara County.
Judy Dawson credits her adult son for hearing the dog barking in pain. He slammed a door and scared the coyote away.
"Thank goodness my son was here, and he ran out, " said Dawson.
The longtime resident said cats had been killed in her neighborhood, but this is the first time a dog has been attacked. Dawson believes the Thomas Fire and drought are to blame.
"The coyotes have been very, very brazen, " said Dawson.
Frankie's owner Lucy Robinson lives with Dawson and said she was worried she couldn't afford the veterinary care. Robinson chose to take Frankie to Ohana Pet Hospital in Ventura. The veterinarian took care of the dog's wounds and prescribed antibiotics.
A Department of Fish and Wildlife officer responded to a call about Frankie. He recommended neighbors read the department's "Keep Me Wild" website. The website offers the following suggestions to keep pets safe from wild animals:
- Do not leave small children or pets outside unattended.
- Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.
- Trim ground-level shrubbery to reduce hiding places.
- Be aware that coyotes are more active in the spring when feeding and protecting their young.
- If followed by a coyote, make loud noises. If this fails, throw rocks in the animal's direction.
- If a coyote attacks a person, immediately contact the nearest Department of Fish and Wildlife or law enforcement officers.
- Stash Your Food and Trash
- Allowing coyotes access to human food and garbage is reckless and deadly.
- Coyotes primarily hunt rodents and rabbits for food but will take advantage of whatever is available including garbage, pet food, and domestic animals.
- Put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over.
- Remove sources of water, especially in dry climates.
- Bring pets in at night, and do not leave pet food outside.
- Avoid using bird feeders as they attract rodents and other coyote prey.
- Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry, and other livestock.
- Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.
- Ask your neighbors to follow these tips.
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