Little Pepe is lucky to be alive, attacked in his own backyard off Campbell Road by coyotes. It was his best friend that saved his life.
The Chihuahua Min Pin needed 37 stitches and three hours of surgery following the incident which left him with 24 puncture wounds, his left ear dangling by a flap of skin and one eye bulging from his head.
If Pepe’s good buddy Turbo, a German Shepherd, hadn’t come to his rescue, the dogs' owners Daria and Ray Gagnon say Pepe would have been dead.
“All of the sudden we heard Turbo barking, and we came out and two or three coyotes had attacked Pepe. They were going round and round, and if the Shepherd hadn't moved in on them to defend him...he saved his life,” says Daria Gagnon of the attack.
Three-year-old Turbo was bred to be trained as an RCMP K-9 unit dog and while well-behaved is very protective of his owners and little buddy Pepe.
“He is a very good dog,” says Ray. “He is trained for attacking, if something comes in the yard like an animal or a bad person.”
Unfortunately for the Gagnon's this isn’t the first time they’ve had a run in with coyotes at their home, where Turbo has had to jump into action.
Just three weeks ago, Ray had to scare off a coyote who was fighting Turbo in a field in front of the Gagnon's home.
“He was neck to neck with a coyote in the hay field and Ray scared him off, and that coyote cleared a six foot fence,” says Daria.
Pepe was attacked on Saturday and then Wednesday evening around 7 p.m. another large coyote launched off of the hill above the Gagnon’s home at Turbo.
The Gagnon's believe, based on their encounters with the coyotes, that there may be up to 20 of the animals living above their home on Casa Grande Drive in West Kelowna.
“The den (maybe) on the rocks right there,” says Ray pointing to a cliff adjacent to his house.
Conservation was contacted and will attend the Campbell Road area Friday morning to investigate.
However according to Conservation Officer Jeff Hanratty, coyotes are not normally pack animals and it would be unusual behaviour for a large number to live in close proximity to one another.
“On occasion they will pack up, typically where you are going to see a quote ‘pack of coyotes’ is a mother with her kits,” explains Hanratty.
Coyotes do commonly live in urban areas but it does raise concern when they lose their fear of people and pose a threat to human life.
“What happens to them is very similar to bears, they start getting on unnatural food sources, pet food, pets, people’s garbage, fruit and berry in the fall and much like bears they overcome their fear of people, and can become quite brazen,” says Hanratty.
Ray says he did not feel like the coyotes feared him, “I was four or five feet away and they just stayed right there like I was a nobody.”
Conservation would like to remind people not to feed their pets outside or leave food, garbage or any other food attractants around their home that may draw coyotes in.
As for Pepe he is still recovering, but hasn’t lost his spunk thanks to the protection of his good friend Turbo.