Wild animals like deer and fox aren’t uncommon in the D.C. region, but a Laurel, Md., woman says she was caught off guard Monday night when a pack of coyotes went after her dogs.
Coyotes usually are shy and elusive, but they caused a racket in the Hunter's Creek subdivision in Howard County, Eliza Billard said.
She said the squealing of her smaller dog, Gizmo, and the barking of Max, her poodle mix, alerted her to something unusual in her backyard about 9 p.m. She and a friend who was visiting ran out on to the back deck.
“Three of them bolted out into the woods, and the one stood literally in the middle of the yard and just sat there and looked at us,” Billard said.
She said she didn’t know what it was at first. Because of its size, she thought it might be a deer.
It was one of those moments where you're confronted with something so unexpected, you don't know exactly what to do, Billard said.
“Both of us looked at each other and said, ‘Yeah, that was a coyote,’” Billard said.
Max has a souvenir of the encounter: A bite mark on his tail.
Coyotes generally confine themselves to brush and wooded areas like the county parkland that borders Billard's backyard. Local governments tend not to intervene unless a coyote starts menacing pets or people.
There have been other reported coyote sightings throughout Howard County, but none has been verified.
Follow Jackie Bensen on Twitter at @jackiebensen