What was supposed to be a routine walk for Bruce Adkins and his dog, turned into a life and death struggle when a coywolf suddenly attacked him.
The encounter occurred in Pefferlaw shortly after 10:30 pm on Saturday, July 13, when Mr. Adkins, a resident at Rixon Manor, was walking Stanley, his seven-year-old terrier, at the rear of the building. As they approached a garbage dumpster, the coywolf darted out from behind and lunged for his terrier.
“He was coming after my dog,” says Mr. Adkins. “So, I just pushed Stanley back and got in front. He grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let go. I hit him two or three times. And then I put the boots to him.”
The coywolf ran off into the bush, but not before inflicting a nasty puncture wound on Mr. Adkin’s left arm and a cut below his left knee, which required medical treatment at Southlake Regional Health Centre.
“It felt like an eternity, but it was probably just a few seconds,” he says. “I just reacted.”
“I remembered hearing that if you ever get in an encounter with a wild animal hit him in the nose. I guess they don’t like it.”
Mr. Adkin, 69, who’s lived at Rixon Manor for more than six years, says he’s seen plenty of coyotes behind the building, but never a coywolf before.
“It was bigger than a coyote,” he says. “It was the size of a German Sheppard but looked more like a husky.”
“I feel lucky it didn’t turn out worse. It could have grabbed my dog. That’s what I was worried about,” he adds. “I wouldn’t want to go through it again.”
Mr. Adkin didn’t report the incident to York Regional Police, or the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), because he didn’t want to scare his neighbours, especially a friend who’s sick and doesn’t get out enough.
But now he wants people to know what happened. He’s specifically concerned about young children and pets.
“I’ve seen coyotes, and they just go about their business. They don’t even bother you. This was different,” he says.
“Just be aware. If you have to go out at night, don’t go far. They could be anywhere. And, be careful taking out your garbage.”
The coywolf is a hybrid of a coyote and a wolf. They are larger, more aggressive, and less likely to be afraid of human contact than cayotes.
There have been several recent sightings of coywolves in the Pefferlaw area, which has prompted the Town of Georgina to post warnings on its social media feeds.
However, the last documented attack occurred in 2015 when a coywolf seriously injured a dog at Riverview Beach Road.
If you encounter a coywolf, keep your distance. Don’t turn your back or run. Try backing away while remaining calm. If that doesn’t work, stand tall, wave your hands, and make lots of noise.