Jim Boettcher woke up on Mother's Day morning and let his dog Buddy out in the backyard just as he does every morning.
It was 6 a.m. and still quiet outside his home on Dovercliff Way in Crystal Lake. With in moments, however, Boettcher heard the small terrier mix dog yelping and crying.
"I got to the door, and saw a coyote standing there," Boettcher said. "Buddy was still crying so I knew something had happened."
Boettcher ran outside, yelled at the coyote until it finally began running toward Waterford Cut.
"I waited a few minutes because it looked like he was going to come back," Boettcher said. "A neighbor said he saw the coyote circle back along Waterford Cut and toward Huntley Road."
Swooping up Buddy, Boettcher realized his hands were covered in blood.
"Buddy had four or five puncture wounds from where the coyote had bitten him on the stomach," Boettcher said.
Boettcher and his wife, Kay, took the small dog to an emergency animal hospital where, $200 later, he was treated with pain killers and antibiotics. Buddy was forced to wear the dreaded cone around his neck to keep him from licking his wounds. The pain killers made him sick to his stomach, Kay Boettcher said.
Once home, the five-year-old dog was fearful of going outside again. Jim Boettcher finally coaxed the dog back out. When Kay lets the dog out, she always accompanies him.
"I'm out there with a broomstick," she said, with a laugh.
The attack is a reminder for residents to keep an eye on their pets, particularly the small ones. The veterinarian told the Boettchers coyotes aren't the only threat to household pets.
"They told us to watch out for hawks and owls," Kay Boettcher said.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources tracks coyote populations in the state and Chicago area. Despite the sprawl of urban development, the coyote seems extremely adaptive to the ever-changing environment and its numbers are not declining.
In fact, as the coyote's natural habitat continues to be overtaken by urban development, more and more people are likely to have run-ins with the animals, which resemble German Shepherds.
To avoid finding themselves face to face with the animal, homeowners should take certain precautions.
- Residents should never leave pet food outdoors.
- Secure garbage cans.
- People should not leave small pets alone if coyotes are known to be in the area, the IDNR states.