Two horses from the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Mounted Division have been viciously attacked, and one killed, in the past two weeks, by what some believe is a pack of coyotes.
The attacks come in the middle of a severe winter and lower than predicted deer harvest this season. Both attacks occurred on the same farm.
“LCSD Mounted member which lives on the boarder of Lapeer and Oakland counties, (E Oakwood and Hosner Rd), reported that at approximately 3 P.M. today, that their horse was attacked and killed by a pack of coyotes,” read a statement on the LCSD’s social media account posted on Jan. 25.
“Both DNR and Oakland County responded to the call. The horse was up near the barn and less than 150’ from the house eating grain when the attacked accrued. Normal coyotes tend to stay away from building and hunt more a night.”
The horse that was killed was used by the all-volunteer 11 deputy mounted patrol who, according to MLive, donated over 2200 hours of their time to help police the county in 2014. The animal, a 27-year old mare named K.O. Carmen, was felled by a pack of 5-6 coyotes according to the horse’s owner, Kallie Meyers, who witnessed part of the attack.
“The coyotes were standing in the tree line staring at us,” she said Meyers. “It brought chills to my spine. They were waiting for us to leave. They were telling us we are on their prey and we need to leave.”
Then just five days later, another horse on the same farm, a 20-year old mare named Lady, was reportedly chased and injured by coyotes, leaving a 2-foot long gash in the animal’s side.
However, DNR isn’t totally buying it.
“There’s been a lot of focus on could a coyote take a horse,” Tim Payne, the southeast regional director for the DNR told the Detroit Free Press. “And the quick response is it is highly, highly — you can put ‘highly’ in bold — unlikely that coyotes will take down a healthy horse. There’s just no records of it. What we’re trying to do now is trying to discern the facts in this case and what is going on. Is it likely coyotes did it or could it be something else that caused the horse to die?”
Payne thinks a culprit could more likely be feral dogs. Either way, Michigan state conservation laws allow that coyotes can be hunted or trapped at any time of year on private property. Dogs, especially feral ones caught attacking livestock are likewise in most cases forfeit ever since 1919.
Wolves attacking livestock, on the other hand, are a completely different story. Citizens having problems with wolves should contact DNR wolf program coordinator Kevin Swanson at 906-228-6561.