Man saves daughter's poodle from teeth of coyote

HANSVILLE, Wash. -- A family is still shaken up over the sight of their daughter's small dog being carried off into the woods by a coyote near Hansville. But thanks to the quick thinking of Greg Johnson, the dog managed to escape.

"I was pretty broke up," Johnson said. "The whole family was screaming."

Daisy, their toy poodle/havanese, slipped out the cat door around 8 a.m. New Year's morning, but the family's other dogs sensed something was wrong.

"They started screaming their cry that they do when coyotes are near," said Nicci Johnson.

Greg Johnson said the minute he went outside, he could see the coyote.

"The coyote was leaning over Daisy and she looked absolutely dead," Johnson said. "And I was furious... I was going right at him with nothing."

The stare-down didn't stop the coyote.

"When coyote saw me coming after her, he picked her up," Greg Johnson said. "And here's her little limp body hanging out of the coyote's mouth and coyote takes off into the woods."

Greg Johnson isn't a gun guy, but says the coyote population has ballooned so much around his waterfront home, he bought a .22 to frighten the packs.

"Noise is critical -- it really does scare them away," Greg Johnson said.

Fish and Game officials say coyotes aren't a protected species and people feeling threatened can shoot them but should check city gun laws before pulling a trigger. Sometimes a paintball gun or power hose can do the trick.

Greg Johnson ran to the treeline and then unloaded a clip from his .22 into the ground.

"The bushes started to move and I thought it was the coyote coming back, so I watched, and it was (Daisy)," he said.

The coyote had bit Daisy in the neck and the teeth went through her windpipe. They rushed her to a Poulsbo animal hospital where Daisy underwent successful surgery and is going to survive.

"(Daisy) will be OK," Nicci Johnson said. "I don't know if I ever will. I feel like we're trapped in our own home."

Fish and Wildlife officials say this is the time of year when typically timid coyotes become scavengers looking for compost piles, pet food, or pets.

They don't really have a count of coyotes to say if there are suddenly more or if more homes are just moving into their turf. If you encounter a coyote, be loud and aggressive, so they see you as a threat versus prey.