PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) — Kathy & Rick Updegrove are lucky to still have their beloved 13-year-old dog Jake after he was mauled by a coyote Tuesday night. Good news; he is expected to be okay.
The attack occurred feet from their backdoor on Windstone Drive, adjacent to McCorrie Lane in Portsmouth.
Kathy told Eyewitness News, like any night, they let Jake outside to answer the call of nature. Moments after letting him outside she said the couple heard the cries for help.
After stepping out on her back deck, Kathy immediately saw the coyote with its jaws clamped onto Jake’s neck.
The couple jumped into triage mode, “we tried to stop Jake’s wounds from bleeding with our hand,” Kathy said.
Since Kathy and Rick came in contact with Jake’s bodily fluid, they were recommended by the Rhode Island Department of Health to undergo rabies vaccination, out of an abundance of caution.
“Rick then grabbed towels and we made a tourniquet around his neck,” Kathy said.
Jake underwent medical treatment at Ocean State Animal Hospital in East Greenwich. There he received stitches, with four stints to drain fluid build-up [two in his hind legs and two in his neck].
Keith Lovett with Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford told Eyewitness News that mating season for coyotes is quickly approaching in mid-February. “When that happens, particularly the males – they have a tendency to be a little more ramped up.”
Male coyotes are out seeking a female to court. Lovett says when another large dog is in the area, the coyote demonstrates its dominance, likely why Jake was attacked.
Lovett isn’t surprised a coyote found its way into a residential neighborhood either.
“They [coyotes] have learned to live in urban environments or quasi-urban environments,” said Lovett. “Things that attract them are other small animals and food. Don’t feed your animal outside. Also, leaving your trash uncovered.”
Keith Lovett: Co-Existing with Coyotes
At the end of the day, Kathy and Rick are thankful that Jake is improving. But they are left wondering if the coyote was a crossbreed since it was larger than the average coyote. The name coywolf was brought up.
According to Keith Lovett, a coywolf is a crossbreed between a wolf [typically found in Canada and not Rhode Island].
“This morning [Sunday] is the most active Jake’s been [since the attack]. We’ve seen great improvement, the drains have a lot less leakage, so, he has really come a long way.”
Going forward, Kathy & Rick are going to accompany Jake every time he goes outside. Worried that the coyote may return, the Updegroves bought an air-horn, sounding it before they step outside, hopefully startling any other coyotes that might be in the area.
Jake’s Attack Wound
If you spot a coyote, never approach it. Keith Lovett says coyotes will rarely approach humans, if they do, contact local authorities.