Confrontations involving aggressive coyotes are continuing in and around Boulder, weeks after wildlife officers shot and killed two of the animals that had shown hostility along the Boulder Creek Path.
In the most recent reported coyote incident, Boulder resident Elenore Snow was walking her 30-pound Basenji mix, Zanzibar -- rescued four years ago from a pile of trash in an outhouse on the east African island of the same name -- on the Sanitas Valley Trail late Monday afternoon when her dog was attacked.
Snow owns a green tag for the dog -- allowing it to be off-leash in designated city open space, as long as the dog is under voice and sight control. She admits that "Zanzi" might not have been in her line of sight when the attack occurred.
"I take responsibility," said Snow, a psychotherapist in private practice and University of Colorado graduate. "I don't want to be accusatory. I don't think she was in eye contact at the exact moment."
Snow said the attack occurred behind her and was apparently broken up by three dogs, one of them a golden retriever, being walked by another woman on the trail.
"She tore herself away -- quite literally," Snow said. "The coyote had sunk its teeth into her right-upper flank, and she was torn up."
Zanzi, according to Snow, "came staggering out of the attack. She would not let me near her for several minutes. She did not know who I was, at first."
Snow promptly reported the episode to city wildlife officials, who have confirmed the incident and added cautionary signage to the area. The attack required a costly trip to a veterinarian, and treatment required insertion of surgical drains to prevent infection. Those drains are due to be taken out Friday.
"When I brought her home from the surgery, she would not lie down," Snow said. "She would just whimper until about 2 a.m., kind of mournful -- distressed, complete shock, complete disorientation."
Snow admits that she had previously not been aware of "the big picture" -- that wildlife officers from both the city and Colorado Parks and Wildlife have dealt with a rash of aggressive coyote encounters since December, culminating in two being put down along the Boulder Creek Path the second week of March.
Her first concern, Snow said, is that people know it is best to keep their dogs on a leash along the Sanitas trail, late in the day, when it appears the coyotes are active.
But beyond that, Snow said, the situation prompts larger questions about the balance between management of wildlife interests while also considering the needs and safety of people who share their ecosystem.
"It's a symptom of an issue that is asking us to look at it, as a city, to be thoughtful about it and proactive about it," said Snow, who said she prefers a response to the coyotes that does not include violence. "It's becoming problematic."
On March 17 in the Boulder Valley Ranch area, north of the city, a coyote attacked a dog while it was being walked by its owner. According to Heather Swanson, a city of Boulder senior wildlife ecologist, that dog also required veterinary treatment.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said people should report it when coyotes are aggressive toward people, "and, of course, be extra cautious with your pets."
"Do not let them approach coyotes, and on the trail, make sure they're on a leash," she said. "That's the only way you can be sure they're under your control."
Aggressive coyotes can be reported to Boulder at 303-441-3333 or Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 303-291-7227. For more information on coyotes, visit tinyurl.com/ca2w4gb.
Snow also wants to send "a very big thank you" to the woman with the three dogs, whom she credits for interrupting the attack on Zanzibar.
"She probably saved her life," she said.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Charlie Brennan at 303-473-1327 or email@example.com.