By Bob Uphues
Two coyotes attacked and injured a dog in north central Riverside on Thursday morning, the first such attack reported in Riverside since 2013.
The dog, a 46-pound Weimaraner, was not seriously injured, according to police, but was taken to a Cicero veterinary hospital for treatment of what appeared to be puncture wounds resulting from the attack. The dog was released to its owner Thursday evening, said police.
According to police, who were not notified of the incident until about six hours later, the attack happened at about 11 a.m. in the backyard of a home in the 300 block of Uvedale Road.
The owner of the home was watching the dog for her daughter-in-law and had let the Weimaraner out into the backyard, which is enclosed by a 4-foot tall chain link fence. A short time later, the woman heard a commotion in the backyard and heard the dog crying.
She went outside and saw what she described to police as two animals with light-colored grayish/white fur that looked like "wolves." After the woman started screaming and yelling at the animals attacking the dog, they jumped the fence and ran off.
According to the dog's owner, who lives in Riverside but was not present when the attack happened, the Weimaraner sustained five bite wounds. The dog is doing fine, she said, though it must wear a protective cone around its neck in order to prevent it from picking at the wounds.
"Luckily [the dog] was able to get away quickly and get into the house," said the dog's owner, who added she was glad the animals ran away after he mom started yelling from the rear doorway.
"I'm glad she didn't go out and try to separate them," the dog's owner said. "She loves that dog so much, she probably would have done that."
As for future trips to the backyard on Uvedale Road, the dog's owner said they'll be supervised from now on.
"We're not letting her out in the yard by herself anymore," said the owner, who added she's seen coyotes along the river but hadn't seen one near her mother-in-law's house. "We always thought it was safe."
Police assume they animals were coyotes, said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, which are not an uncommon sight in that part of Riverside.
According to the University of Illinois Extension website, the coyote mating season peaks in late February and early March. Weitzel said it's likely the coyotes were in the area looking for food, but police didn't find any evidence that any food was left outside to attract them. Weitzel added that police don't believe the attack was recorded by any private surveillance cameras in the area.
In 2013, residents in and near the 300 block of Uvedale Road reported dozens of coyote sightings. That year alone, residents reported more than 350 coyote sightings throughout Riverside, with many of them coming in the north central area of Riverside.
The prevalence of coyotes prompted Riverside police to craft a coyote policy, in order to provide residents with information on the habits of coyotes and how to deal with them.
Reports of coyote sightings have dropped dramatically since 2013. There were only 36 coyote sighting in Riverside in 2016, according to Weitzel and, including Thursday's incident, only two so far in 2017.
Coyote attacks are not unheard of in the area. There were two attacks reported in Riverside in January 2013, one of them resulting in the death of a 9-pound dog. In 2008, a coyote snatched and killed a 6-pound Maltese, which was just a few feet away from its owner, in the Hollywood section of Brookfield.