Pack of coyotes blamed for killing sheriff's horse
Coyotes had gotten bolder on her Oxford Township farm in the past year, said Kallie Meyers. On Sunday, she discovered how bold.
A pack of the canines killed one of her female horses, assigned to the Lapeer County Sheriff's Department mounted division, she said.
"That's not how I wanted a horse that was so loyal and so good ... to spend her last moments," said Meyers, who, along with her husband, Dr. Bruce Meyers, are reserve deputies with the Sheriff's Department.
Around 3 p.m. Sunday, the horse, named K.O. Carmen, was in a fenced area about 80 feet from the house, eating grain, when five or six coyotes attacked, according to her sons, Meyers said.
Meyers, who was at a neighbor's home during the attack, thinks the 27-year-old horse fell and the coyotes took advantage of her vulnerable position.
"They did damage to her rear end," Meyers said. "It was done very quickly."
The couple's teenage sons heard the attack and their dogs chased the coyotes away, Meyers said. The horse was euthanized.
Coyotes weigh about 35 pounds while horses are between 1,000 to 1,200 pounds.
"Coyotes are not known to attack big animals like that," said Tim Payne, southeast regional wildlife supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources.
A biologist has been assigned to investigate the incident, he said.
Coyotes increasingly have been reported in populated areas in Michigan, including Detroit's suburbs.
It is breeding season for canines and they are establishing territory where they'll raise their young, Payne said. Coyotes would be most focused on, or aggressive with, other canines, though, he said.
It also is hunting season for coyotes in Michigan, Lapeer County Undersheriff Robert Rapson said.
"I would imagine a lot of the neighbors are going to go out and start hunting," he said. "They would eradicate some of the animals that way."
Meyers said she's concerned about her dogs and children in the area. She also has seven other horses, most also with the mounted division. She said she plans to get a donkey because they are aggressive and protective.
"What I'm telling my neighbors is to be more visual," she said. "Make sure (coyotes) understand that they can't walk up to us and can't be around our horses. Maybe try and make them more fearful."