Necropsy reveals coyotes didn’t kill German Shepherd

coyote, dog, conflict, co-existence
A community is exhaling after a frightening few weeks, spurred by incorrect news that a German Shepherd dog had been killed by a pack of coyotes.

According to, Framingham Police used their 9-1-1 system to contact residents and warn them that a dog had been killed by a pack of coyotes. But a necropsy performed by the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife revealed coyotes were not the culprit.

“A spokesperson for the state said the dog died from a blunt force trauma, which could include being struck by a vehicle,” has reported.

It is presumed that coyotes – along with other scavengers – then inspected the corpse to see if it was edible. But it is quite rare for a necropsy – either formal or informal – to be performed to determine cause of death.

This is in line with much of what former USDA trapper Cater Niemeyer wrote in his disturbing, yet revealing book, Wolfer.

“Most trappers I knew did their investigations with the tips of their boots, rolling the animal to one side, never taking their hands from their pockets. Yep, they’d say, looks like a wolf did it, or at least was ‘possibly’ or ‘probably’ responsible. It quickly became the fashion to blame wolves for all things dead.”

Blaming coyotes – or any other predator – is a knee-jerk reaction to tragedy. And, unfortunately, it frequently leads to the wholesale murder of a great number of innocent animals.

Understanding wildlife behaviour and creating co-existence plans, as can be found in our Living With Wildlife campaign, is a positive way to not only educate the public, but prevent conflict as well.

Our advocacy work, campaigning and programs like Living With Wildlife are only possible thanks to the generous donations of our members. Become a monthly donor for as little as $5/month and help us protect fur-bearing animals today.

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