The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York


JUly 22, 2011

Brave dog defies odds by defeating coyote


Lily, a two-year-old Jack Russell-Whippet mix fought off coyote.


Bedford Hills resident Jill Brooke assumed the worst when she received a frantic call from a neighbor yelling about the large amount of blood on a nearby farm Sunday night.

“We honestly thought that we had lost Lily,” said Ms. Brooke. “We were petrified.”

Earlier that night, Ms. Brooke had watched as Lily, a two-year-old Jack Russell-Whippet mix, run into the woods surrounding her Buxton Road farm after spotting a coyote lurking there. She and her family feared that the coyote had “eaten Lily for dinner,” she said.

Lily, who Ms. Brooke said is “not much bigger than the average house cat,” is owned by Ms. Brooke’s barn manager, Alex Hamer. Lily lives with Mr. Hamer in a house on Ms. Brooke’s farm and started attacking a coyote after she and her brother, Winston, escaped from their leashes.

After watching his sister run after the coyote, Winston soon followed.

“I know that under the same set of circumstances, my dog would be hiding under a bench,” said Ms. Brooke, who owns a goldendoodle named Cleo that Lily often plays with. “Lily and Winston just went at it. They weren’t going to let that coyote terrorize our farm.”

The dogs were found ten minutes after their escape by neighbors at a nearby farm, who also found the body of the coyote that the dogs had killed. They then called Stacy Robertson, who works for Mr. Hamer, to let her know what had happened.

“I went and got the dogs and Lily was covered in blood,” said Ms. Robertson. “They acted crazed and Lily had blood all over her. It looked like a murder scene.”

Ms. Robertson, who often does veterinary care for horses, tried to stop the bleeding herself but was unsuccessful and brought Lily to the vet the next day. Lily suffered ear and paw wounds, but is now recovering.

Though the coyote was six times Lily’s size, Ms. Brooke said that the dog “didn’t mind” the size difference and did not hesitate in jumping into battle to defend her property.

“This was not an issue where bigger was better,” said Ms. Brooke. “This was where cunning, determination and the desire to protect family and friends turned Lily into a superhero dog. She was the little dog that could.”

According to Ms. Brooke, Lily is ordinarily friendly and “loves all people and all animals,” but can also be very determined and is “definitely someone who knows what she wants.” Though Lily and Winston are usually secured on leashes at the farm, whenever they escape they “shoot off into the woods” to hunt.

“Lily is normally a very passive, super shy and timid dog except when she is hunting, and then she is vicious,” said Ms. Robertson. “She and Winston love to run away and chase squirrels, rabbits and birds and apparently coyotes, too.”

While Lily has never faced a threat as large as a coyote, she, Cleo and Winston have chased away other a wild animals that have entered the farm, such as deer.

“I don’t even need a fence for my garden because they are so protective of the property,” said Ms. Brooke, adding that though she has never seen a coyote on her farm before, she wouldn’t be surprised if they often visited but were chased off by the dogs.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, eastern coyotes are “firmly established in New York” as an “integral part of our ecosystem.” The Westchester Department of Health estimates  that about one coyote-related incident occurs in the area each year.

Coyotes started to draw attention as a problem in June 2010, when two young girls were attacked by coyotes in Rye within a timespan of four days. As a result of those incidents, the county Department of Health released a list of ways to prevent a coyote attack that includes carrying items outside to make noise and throw at the coyotes, keeping small dogs close by when taking them on walks and bringing food indoors so as not to lure the coyotes.

The most recent fight between a coyote and dog in the Westchester area occurred on July 1 in White Plains. According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, most coyote attacks on dogs begin as territorial confrontations. Owners of large dogs have “little to worry about,” as coyotes will see that they are outmatched, according to the DEC website. However, small dog owners do “have cause for concern” because small dogs are usually killed if they do not submit and relinquish territory to the coyote, a fact that makes Lily’s survival even more incredible.

“When you see this dog, you can’t believe that she beat a coyote,” said Ms. Brooke. “This really is a David versus Goliath type of story.”

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.


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