Casper on the mend after fending off pack of coyotes in Decatur
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Great Pyrenees livestock dog Casper is still recovering after a violent encounter with a pack of coyotes nearly a month ago in their Laurel Ridge neighborhood in Decatur.
“I can’t even explain how good it is to see him right now because I felt like there was no way he was going to live when I saw him,” said John Weirville, an Urban Shepherd and owner of the landscaping business Ewe Can Do It Naturally.
Weirville’s landscaping company leases out flocks of his sheep to clear away brush from properties, utilizing the natural instincts of sheep to munch on that brush.
Weirville says 2-year-old Casper was standing guard over his flock of sheep one late night in early November when about 10 coyotes got too close for comfort.
“I could see the coyotes running around in this area. When I got over this way, then Casper took off,” said Weirville.
Casper managed to kill eight of the coyotes, saving the sheep in his care, but in the process was badly hurt. He had gaping wounds to his neck and side - and his tail had to be docked. There were a few days the vets and staff at Lifeline Animal Project worried recovery wouldn’t be an option.
“How bad are these wounds and is it something that can be fixed? Or is it something that is beyond fixing? You know that is what makes the quality of life an issue,” said Katrina Coleman, a vet tech at Lifeline Animal Project.
It’s relatively common to spot coyotes wandering around the metro-Atlanta area, but it’s rare to see so many running together, according to the Atlanta Coyote Project.
“This is extremely unusual behavior for coyotes, and we suspect that there might be extenuating circumstances,” said Chris Mowry, a professor of biology at Berry College.
Mowry, who works with the Atlanta Coyote Project to study the behavior of coyotes in the metro, says coyotes live in small family groups and they are rarely aggressive.
“In this particular situation, the only thing that makes sense is if there was a large litter this year and the pups hadn’t yet dispersed,” he said. “This could potentially make sense if there are lots of resources available, which sounds like it might be the case in this area of Decatur.
Casper isn’t out of the woods yet. The healing process will likely take several more months. Lifeline is donating their care, which would have cost Weirville upwards of $15,000.
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