Concerns grow after coyotes attack pet in Pawleys Island

Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 11:15 PM EDT
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PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (WMBF) - An invasive species is taking a toll on one South Strand community.

Many pet owners in Pawleys Island have been keeping their leashes a little shorter these days. Coyotes have been a problem in some suburban neighborhoods in the South Strand.

Noah Rourk’s dog, Gunner, was doing his business when a couple of coyotes mauled him in the bushes.

“It was a crazy experience, to be honest,” said Rourk. “I never would’ve thought that would happen.”

Fortunately, Gunner is okay after a quick trip to the emergency vet, where he got stitches on his chest and stomach, but another minute or two could’ve spelled disaster.

“I guess me running over the stomping, made them go off, but he was lucky,” Rourk said. “It happened - not even 30 seconds and they put a nice hurting on him.”

Concerns grow after coyotes attack pet in Pawleys Island
Concerns grow after coyotes attack pet in Pawleys Island(WMBF)

Jut just a few days later, Gunner is feeling much better.

A spokesperson for South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources says coyote populations ebb and flow naturally depending on the seasons and diseases.

Coyotes are fairly new to South Carolina.

Many were introduced illegally in the 1980′s for hound-running competitions.

Between the gradual migrations from the West and the ones imported illegally, coyotes can now be found in all 46 counties in the state.

Anyone can legally shoot a coyote within 100 yards of their property, or they can trap them and take care of them themselves.

Rourk is relieved it didn’t come to that.

“I’m just really thankful that he’s okay and everyone is sending him prayers and they’re all watching out now and being really careful,” said Rourk.

If you don’t feel comfortable shooting or trapping a coyote, DNR provides a list of certified trappers that’ll take care of them for you.

However, because of disease concerns, legally, they have to kill them. They can’t be relocated.

DNR believes the coyote population in South Carolina has dropped nearly 30% in the last decade.

This means, hopefully, in another 10 years or so, Rourk won’t have to worry nearly as much about Gunner getting attacked.

“He’s going to be within six feet of me, right here next to me for a long time,” said Rourk. “A long time.”

But he’ll be keeping a close eye on him just in case.

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