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Man reports pet dog attacked by coyotes while hiking in Rock Canyon

By Genelle Pugmire - | Apr 18, 2022

Isaac Hale, Daily Herald file photo

A hot air balloon floats near Rock Canyon during preliminary flights as part of the Freedom Festival's Balloon Fest on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in Provo.

Temperatures Monday were expected to be in the 60s with nothing but sunshine. It looked like it was a great time to take an early morning hike — at least, that is what Mark Andrus thought.

His hikes start at 4:30 a.m., and Monday it was beginning at Rock Canyon just above the Provo LDS Temple and residential areas.

“I was heading up Rock Canyon to do our morning hike of 4 miles when just 5 minutes from (the) parking lot my dog was attacked by a least two coyotes,” Andrus wrote in an email to the Daily Herald.

His dog Athena was walking close to him but then quickly ran off to the left like she caught a sent, Andrus noticed.

“She was no more than 40 feet from me when she did some fast barking followed by a lot of yelping and then it was followed by coyote barking, yelping and yipping,” Andrus wrote. “I ran towards the yelping of my dog and called for her to come and she came to me yelping like she was injured. I grabbed her and was yelling out loud at them to get out of here but they were going crazy and wouldn’t leave us. I grabbed her by the collar and we ran back to the car and the whole time they were yipping and following us from a distance.”

He said his dog being attacked so close to him was “like a horror movie.”

“We are both pretty traumatized,” Andrus said.

Athena had three bite marks on her hind end that were bleeding, he reported.

“My dog wears a bright headlight and so do I yet they were right off the trail,” Andrus said of his encounter. “I think hikers and dog owners in the area should be advised that there are some pretty brazen and aggressive coyotes around the Rock Canyon trailhead.”

Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Department, who is used to hikers in the eastern hillsides of the county, said that having coyotes that far down the mountain in not unheard of.

“There’s not much we can do about it,” Cannon said. Typically, he recommended, if you make a lot of noise they will go away.

Cannon did note that coyotes are nocturnal hunters and during the time Andrus was hiking it was still dark.

According to an article from outdoor advice website advnture.com, oyotes can run up to 40 mph, much faster than humans, and trying to flee may trigger a chase response in the animals. If you come face to face with one, do not turn your back, maintain eye contact, make noise and wave your arms or hiking poles to frighten it away. If it doesn’t move, back away slowly and calmly.


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