Woman says dog was taken by coyote while hiking popular trail

Published: Saturday, Jan. 5 2013 6:48 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — A woman who says her dog was snatched by a coyote and killed while hiking to Ensign Peak is now warning others to take precautions.

On Friday, Teri Mallard and her Jack Russell Terrier, Scout, along with a second dog, had just reached the top of Ensign Peak. It's a hike they have made many times together in the past.

"We go everywhere, in remote places, and nothing like this has ever happened," Mallard said.

They were headed down the trail — Scout was off-leash and about 20 yards ahead of Mallard — when something grabbed the dog.

"And all of a sudden I heard her screaming, and I look up, and an animal was dragging her off," she said. "I started screaming and yelling and chasing it as fast as I could."

Mallard searched for about 90 minutes with no luck before going home to warm up and get a gun, a knife, bear spray and to call her husband.

"'Please get up here and help me right now. Something got Scout, a coyote,' I didn't know at that point really, I just knew it was a wild animal. It got Scout."

They spent about five to six hours looking for their pet before finally spotting traces of blood in the snow.

"I started digging in the snow and I saw my dog's little sweater, and I called my husband, and I had to leave, and he took care of it. He got her sweater," Mallard said in tears.

Now, Mallard believes others should take precautions if they plan on using the popular hiking trail.

"That coyote had the guts to come down and take my dog right in front of me, and another dog was there. To me, that's just not safe," she said. "I knew they were up there, but I didn't think they hunt down dogs with little crocheted sweaters on them."

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said no one had contacted them about the incident prior to the media calling. But they noted that coyote sightings are on the rise in Salt Lake County.

They also issued a reminder that Ensign Peak is an on-leash area, and that having a leash on a dog is a good way to protect the animal while hiking.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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