Editor’s note: DeAnn Lubell, a longtime Coachella Valley resident and award-winning author, wrote the following first-person account of a Dec. 22 incident in which coyotes killed her dog.

I wanted to wait until after Christmas to write this.  As most of you know, my precious little dog, Amy was killed last Sunday by three huge coyotes in our backyard. It happened very fast.  I had let Sugar and Amy out back around 11 a.m. for about a few minutes.  That’s all it took.  The coyotes were cunningly sneaky and swift.  We aren’t sure where they came from, but they got over the fence.  Amy didn’t have a chance.  Sugar ran for the door and wasn’t involved.  I didn’t see it happen.  I just saw them standing over Amy’s body.  I screamed and collapsed on the patio as Jeffrey flew by me, they ran, and he scooped up Amy.  I have never been so distraught in my life.  We held her between us for the longest time.  Our good friends Lisa and Jeff Karr came over immediately.  Lisa took Jeff’s place on the sofa and sat next to me while I still held on tight to my baby.  My mind was a void, and my heart was shattered.

Coyotes Kill Dog, Spur Owner to Act [Column]

DeAnn Lubbell and Amy

Sugar cried and wailed up until yesterday.  We let her sleep with us just to quiet her down.  Amy was her little sidekick.  They were always together.  Lisa and I wrapped Amy in a towel and then a blanket and put her in a little dog bed in the bathroom where I would go for the next several hours and lie next to her while Sugar would come in and sniff, cry and give her little kisses.  The next day we went to our local vet and they arranged to have her remains cremated.

I am telling you this, because if I can help it, I don’t want anyone to go through a horrific pet loss due to a kill by coyotes.  If Amy’s death can save just one beloved pet, then what I say and what I plan to do will honor her memory and name.

First of all, the coyote problem is just about EVERYWHERE in the USA from New York City to Florida to Michigan to the mid-west to the west coast in rural areas and in the heart of suburbia. My daughter, Tanya, lives in Studio City in Los Angeles in an area of residential homes, condos, resorts, restaurants, malls, stores, heavy traffic.  She said packs of coyotes are spotted all over all of the time.  Many of you from many different states have written to tell me of how you lost your cat or your dog to these predators.

I don’t blame the coyotes.  Please!  I really don’t.  It is their nature, and in many cases, we have intruded into their territory or have forced them to adapt to suburbia living.  My gripe is that we humans aren’t educated enough on the mindset, cunningness and patient determination of the creature.  I blame myself for letting my guard down.  I hadn’t seen a coyote since I moved to the hi desert in early October.  I knew they were around – out of sight out of mind.  To make me feel better, some have said it was “her time to go!”  No, I don’t believe that in this case.

We did do as much as we thought we could.  Fenced in yard, coyote barrier, never letting them out by themselves at dawn or dusk, wolf urine, boat horns, animal sprays, and on and on.

Don’t feel that just because you live in a gated community you are safe from these canine cousins of the wolf.  When I lived in the Hideaway, I saw them on the golf course.  I saw them in Victoria Falls.  I saw them just off Washington in La Quinta.  A few years ago, a lady was walking her little dog on Farrell near the DMV when a coyote snuck up behind her and snatched her pet.  When I lived in Bel Air in Los Angeles two coyotes came into my backyard and took steaks right off the grill.  A pack of coyotes in Sherman Oaks killed and dragged off my family’s medium-sized dog, Panda from my dad’s backyard.

I was told that coyotes are not big animals, they are slight and shy, they fear humans, they only hunt at dusk and dawn, and most likely won’t venture onto your property only at night…BS BS BS – to put it mildly!!!  The coyotes that got Amy were healthy looking, stood as big as timber wolves, were not afraid of humans, and they killed her near noontime.

Coyotes Kill Dog, Spur Owner to Act [Column]


My plans.  To start a grieving club in Amy’s name for those who have lost pets, no matter the reason. These furry friends become our children, our babies, our family.  I also want to seek a better way of promoting better awareness about coyotes – not fear – just awareness.

Another thing I want to do is advocate the need for 24-hour emergency facilities in the high and low desert regions.  Even though Amy was killed instantly, I still called the local vet on a Sunday morning only to receive a voice message that if this was an emergency please go to the nearest emergency facility in Indio.  Indio??!!!  From where I live now that is 45 to 60 minutes.

We still love it here where we live.  I can’t blame the area.  Like I said, this is a nationwide problem that is getting worse everyday and for some reason, a lot of heads are buried in the sand and I’m not quite sure why the problem isn’t being addressed.  There is no control.

I want to thank all of you for your tears, your prayers, your thoughts, and your love.  The outpour of your heartfelt wishes was sincerely appreciated.

My hurt is going to last a long time, and of course, it will ease, but never go away.  I want to make sure that Amy did not die in vain.  Just maybe if I push officials, pet adoption organizations, the media, or whomever to please put it out there more readily available public information and education about coyotes, then the ending of her short life might help others.

Image Sources

  • DeAnn Lubbelll and Amy: DeAnn Lubbell
  • 19510437_1344340298937117_5903169380226446566_n: DeAnn Lubbell
  • Amy: DeAnn Lubbell