By: Sharon Aron Baron
Barbara Sams considers her three dogs her family members and won’t even use the word “pets” when she talks about them.
“These are my boys,” she said about her three black and white dogs named Benny, Boomer and Stuff.
Her late husband Charles Weiner who passed away two years ago of pancreatic cancer loved rescuing black and white dogs and adopted their last one, a shih tzu, a few hours before he was to be put down, naming him Stuff. Stuff was five years old and had one bad eye and poor vision in the other, but Barbara said he was the most affectionate one of her boys.
On October 31, shortly after 5:00 a.m Barbara took them outside of her home in the Woodlands Country Club though her back patio door. Stuff usually stayed close, but Benny didn’t, so just as she was putting a leash on Benny, her other dog Boomer started barking loudly. It was that moment when a coyote, who was just eight feet away from her, pounced from under a bush near her house and grabbed Stuff by the neck. She never heard a sound from the coyote or even a whimper from Stuff. Just as quickly as he grabbed him, the coyote took off running away with him through the hedges and across the golf course.
Unfortunately, the coyote was too fast for Barbara to chase in the darkness.
Barbara was devastated. She knew all too well about the coyote problem in the Woodlands and would never leave her dogs unattended outside, but never imagined a coyote would come so close.
She said that before she moved to Tamarac, she lived in a home on eight acres in Maryland and dealt with foxes and other wildlife but they never were as aggressive as these coyotes are. She said the situation is getting much worse because the next morning around 6:45 AM, she observed a coyote strolling across the golf course.
“These people that say you need to learn to live with the wildlife – these [coyote] are not wildlife in a natural setting because they are pushed further and further into smaller and smaller areas and they are eating all of the small wildlife there is,” said Barbara. “So they’re going to go to the next thing there is – which is us.”
Barbara is hoping that the community will do something about trapping the coyotes, and if they do, she would like to get involved. She said that Benny and Boomer are both nervous about going outside, but when she takes them, she carries a bat with her.
“I’m very aware of these coyotes, but these three little guys are my family,” she said. “The coyotes are getting bolder and more holder and more hungry and are eventually going to attack a person.”