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Dog attacked by coyote in backyard, a pet owner's warning to others

Posted at 4:55 PM, Jun 14, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — You never think it'll happen to you until it does. One Eastside family and their dog had quite the scare recently when a coyote snuck into their backyard and attacked their chihuahua.

Luckily the dog made it out alive, but the family is still frightened the coyote could come back.

Ryan Snowden holding Trudi

Ryan Snowden, Trudi's owner, ran to his 9-year-old chihuahua's rescue in the early morning around 7:30 a.m. after hearing his very quiet dog 'screamed' like never before.

He says she was sunbathing in her usual spot when the attack happened.

Trudi's sunbathing spot

"I came out some back doors over here to find her in the jaws of the coyote," Snowden said.

Snowden didn't think twice about immediately running outside, disregarding his own safety.

"I was a little bit nervous because, well obviously, the situation and I didn't have much time to think," said Snowden. "The coyote was very large and I was thinking that if it turned on me that I was going to be in some trouble."

Trudi walking in backyard

The encounter only lasted about a minute. Once Snowden got to his backyard, the coyote ran off with Trudi in its mouth.

"I think with the combination of Trudi bucking around a little bit and me screaming and running," explained Snowden. "Trudi did get loose, and it [the coyote] just went right up over that fence."

It's a miracle that Trudi made it out alive considering her size.

Trudi's stitches after attack

"If you think of the size of a German shepherd and add another one to it," Snowden described the coyote he saw that day. "I saw the muscles in its leg and it was pretty large."

Trudi is back to her normal routine of bathing in the sun after recovering for about two weeks. Snowden tells me he stays by her side every time she goes outside now.

Trudi getting pets

"Trudi's doing pretty well now," Snowden confirmed. "She gets her stitches out tomorrow and she's starting to come back around; for a while she wouldn't want to come out here at all."

Snowden says he's used to seeing coyotes in his neighborhood, but after Trudi's attack he's in the process of installing barriers on his backyard fence to deter any animal from getting inside.

Ryan Snowden backyard

He also wants other pet owners to use this as a warning that even if you have a tall fence or wall, predators can still get into your backyard.

Jacqueline Aguilar is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9. Born and raised in Yuma, AZ., she is no stranger to the unforgiving Arizona heat. Now this U of A wildcat is excited to be back in Tucson and is looking forward to involving herself in the community. Share your story ideas with Jacqueline by emailing or connecting on Facebook, Instagram or X.