Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings San Diego

Heroic Pup Loses Life Protecting Siblings from Vicious Coyote Attack

In 2013, a heroic 2-year-old Maltipoo named Sophie arrived at Helen Woodward Animal Center after protecting a 7-month-old puppy from a vicious coyote. Both dogs survived the attack and Sophie’s story became national news.  Veterinary staff recently experienced a déjà vu with a more tragic ending.  Evon Werner, whose dogs are regular clients at both the Center’s Companion Animal Hospital and Club Pet facility, recently arrived at the hospital, suffering the loss of one of her beloved pups and injuries to two others after another terrifying, daytime, neighborhood coyote attack.  Her 3-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named Wyatt heroically protected his three canine friends, but lost his life in the process. 

 Werner, a Rancho Santa Fe resident, who was understandably devastated, reported that she left her home to run an errand.  All four of her dogs were in the fenced backyard and she returned less than an hour later.  Neighbors told Werner that they heard a loud ruckus and ran out to see a coyote leaping over Werner’s 7-foot steel fence. 

Werner hopes that other pet families will be reminded that it is coyote season and that there are some basic precautions pet-owners can take to protect their pets.  Helen Woodward Animal Center and the Companion Animal Hospital offer the following tips:

Use caution from dusk until dawn: Pets should be kept indoors between the hours of dusk and early morning.  If your dog needs to relieve himself during these hours, accompany him on a short leash.

Avoid taking your dog on a nighttime walk: Nighttime is the prime time when coyotes hunt for food.  If you must take your puppy on an evening walk, use a very short leash.

Install a fence: Backyard fences should be at least 6 feet high to prevent coyotes from leaping over. Coyotes are also known to dig, so installing vinyl lattice 2 to 3 feet below ground is suggested to prevent tunneling.

Leave no food in your yard: This includes always feeding your dog inside; cleaning the yard of any fallen apples, berries or other fruits from existing fruit trees and; securing the lids on all garbage cans.

Submitted by Helen Woodward Animal Center. Location: 6523 Helen Woodward Way, Ste. 200, Rancho Santa Fe. For more information, call 858-756-4159 or visit