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Panton woman attacked by coyote

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 5:43 PM EDT
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PANTON, Vt. (WCAX) - An Addison County woman is recovering after she says she was attacked by a coyote behind her home over the weekend.

“After the adrenaline rush wears off, you’re just left in disbelief and shock,” said Jessica Devoid, describing what she and her 8-month-old puppy went through when they were attacked by a coyote near her Panton home. “I look up and I saw this ‘dog’ running across the field, and when I didn’t see a person, it clicked in my head that it wasn’t anybody’s dog, it was a wild dog, a coyote.”

Devoid says she tried not to panic but before she could get away, the coyote went after her dog and then turned on her. “At one point it did jump up and try to bite me, either on the neck or the face, and it made contact on my face and the bottom teeth broke skin right here,” she said.

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Game Warden Lt. Trevor Szymanowski says these interactions are not common. Since 1991, he says there have only been four prior coyote attacks, one of which involved a rabid animal. “It’s very likely that it was a female that had young in the area. It is that time of the year where essentially everything has babies, and they’re defensive,” he said.

“I knew that I couldn’t watch my dog be ripped to shreds and I knew that everything I had seen on any television show or read in any book had said to be big and scary and fight -- and I did,” Devoid said.

Game Warden Wesley Butler responded to the incident. He says they were unable to locate the animal. He says Devoid did all of the right things. “Maintaining a low voice, a calm voice, but being loud and being big. While I would never tell somebody to approach a wild animal to strike them, if an animal is coming towards you and you are going to strike them. That’s a better case scenario than letting them lunge onto your torso,” Butler said.

Devoid says she has seen a doctor and is receiving treatment for rabies as a precaution.

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