Missing Context in Picture of Coyote Grabbing Dog By Collar

People love taking stories and photos out of context to vilify wildlife. We’re honestly not sure what the motive is, but it happens all the time. You’ve likely seen the top photo in warnings on social media about how coyotes are dangerous, brutal hunters who love to kill domestic dogs. Sometimes the photo includes an entirely fabricated story about how the coyote lured the dog to her and then attacked him. It always presents the coyote as the villain and the dog as an innocent victim.

We were able to track down the original video where the top image originated. The video clearly shows a coyote whose leg is stuck in a fence, either by a leghold trap or the fence itself. (The trapped leg isn’t shown up close.) The owner of the dogs unleashes all three dogs on the trapped coyote. They viciously attack her, three against one. The top image shows her desperately attempting to defend herself.

This is not a “mean” animal. This is a scared, hurt animal in life-threatening danger who is trying to protect herself against three animals who are larger and stronger than her.

Coyotes are not evil. They are sensitive, intelligent wild dogs who are dedicated to their mates and young and will, like any other mammal, defend themselves and their families. That includes defending themselves against domestic dogs when they’re attacked or in danger. This doesn’t make them bad.

Coyotes sometimes defend themselves against attacks by domestic dogs, and will occasionally prey on very small dogs left unattended. But most of the time, a coyote would greatly prefer to avoid dogs than to attack them or try to make meals of them.

Please don’t share the top photo without the additional context. Truth matters.

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