KIRTLAND, Ohio - In late 2018, stories hit social media about a “funny-looking” vest designed to protect dogs from coyote attacks.
Lindy Perkes was watching the news that day and says that report inspired her to buy one of the vests - and it saved her dog's life.
“She would not have made it; there’s just no way,” Perkes tells WJW, “She was headed for the jaws of death, literally.”
Mika is an adorable Japanese Chin and Jack Russell Terrier mixed pup, rescued by Lindy two years ago.
Perkes often worried about putting her outside on her property because she could hear coyotes howling in the woods.
“Actually, I was looking for something; I was concerned about her,“ she said, “And when it came up on the news I went, 'oh my gosh.'”
The Coyote Vest Pet Armor System was invented by a California couple after one of their own small dogs was killed by a coyote at a busy dog park.
The lightweight Kevlar vest costs about $100 and has metal spikes and long flexible whiskers positioned where coyotes and birds of prey are known to strike.
Veterinarian Dr. Gretchen Zarle has seen many dogs attacked by coyotes.
She said although the vest leaves the underbelly, tail and feet exposed, it also appears to be well-made. “It’s designed to slow down the attacks so the human has time to react, might be golden, lifesaving few minutes.”
Perkes says the attack on Mika took less than 45 seconds.
She was watching Mika in the front yard from her garage this February around 9 in the morning, when a coyote appeared out of nowhere and bolted toward Mika.
“It was a flash. All I could think is this is gonna be really bad.”
But she says something incredible happened.
The coyote stopped within inches of Mika and the coyote vest's protruding whiskers, then suddenly turned tail and ran away.
“It was amazing; I couldn’t believe it,” said Perkes.
There’s no guarantee that the vest will protect every pet in every situation but Perkes believes it saved Mika.
Wildlife experts say pet owners can also protect their pets by following some simple rules:
- Remove all attractants including trash cans and dirty grills from near your home.
- Never leave a pet outside unattended, especially at dusk and dawn.
- Keep pets on a leash when possible and carry an air horn, mace or a can of rocks to scare an aggressive coyote away.