HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Coyotes have always been a problem throughout Horry County, but after a pack of the wild animals killed one man's three dogs, he's worried their numbers could be out of control.
"I fired a shot and went over to check on the dogs," said Richard Owens. "Two of the puppies were dead. My dog, Spot, was injured so severely I had to put him out of misery."
Owens says the attack happened Saturday night around 9 o'clock. In the light of day, the scene of the attack is still visible behind his home off Highway 701. He had to burn the area around the kennel to ward off more coyotes. It's still smoldering.
"We've lived here two years," Owens said. "That night was the only night we've had any run ins with coyotes, at all."
Owens is worried there are too many of the wild animals in the area, wearing down their food supply and growing more violent.
"I don't want to see a child get hurt. It's bad enough my dogs are dead, but what's it going to take?"
Owens says he called DNR to report the pack and get the problem under control, but he said he wasn't thrilled with their response.
"DNR gets on the phone," Owens said, "and says 'All of our agents are busy, there's nothing we can do. Do you own a gun? Handle it yourself.'"
Robert McCullough with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says if a coyote is attacking personal property, a person has the right to shoot the coyote. However, he also recommended anyone call DNR if there seems to be large packs of the animal in the area.