NEWBURY — Last week, Laura Hanlon's husband put their two dogs, Riley and Eddie, outside at 6:30 a.m., just like they had been doing for years at their property on Scotland Road.
Minutes later, Laura, her husband and her visiting brother found themselves running outside to ward off a coyote who had crept into their yard and begun to chase Eddie, their Australian cattle dog mix.
Hanlon, equipped with an air horn and her husband's golf club, called for Riley to come inside and he immediately ran back into the house. Hanlon continued into the woods searching for Eddie, who she said is more protective and who might have been chasing the coyote off the property.
After 20 minutes in the woods, Hanlon found Eddie, but didn't realize until later when she saw blood seeping through Eddie's fur that he had been attacked.
"When I retrieved him, I was very concerned," Hanlon said. "I know one coyote was seen by my husband and they blend in very well with the woods. I felt like it was probably still there. Had I known it had attacked my dog, I would have been even more fearful (that it might attack me)."
Eddie survived after being brought to the Amesbury Animal Hospital, where they shaved his hair off, revealing at least five wounds, including what Hanlon called "two pretty large" ones and "one very large" gash, which was larger than a half dollar.
Eddie was placed on anesthesia, and draining tubes were put into the wounds for several days before he was placed on antibiotics and painkillers.
Newbury animal control officer Carol Larocque said coyotes are virtually never a threat to humans but thinks the attack on the dog may have been a territorial issue, citing the fact that coyotes may have their young now and would want to protect them.