JAMES ISLAND S.C. (WCBD) – A James Island woman is recounting a terrifying experience she had over the summer when she and her dog were attacked by a coyote in their own yard. Both were injured and now she is calling for more coyote control in her area.
Ammellia Wiggins was in her yard after work when the attack happened. On a regular day, she let her dog Aiyda out to play in the backyard, and she didn’t think anything of it until she started hearing excessive barking.
She and Aiyda were attacked by a coyote. Her husband came to her rescue, but the incident left her shaken.
”I lashed out with my foot, kicking it back, and Aiyda continued fighting. To me, the fight felt like it was forever, but it was probably around a minute that we fought back, we tussled, and then my husband came,” said Wiggins.
“I came around the corner- I already had drawn my weapon and I took my arm, pushed my wife to the side, and waited — they were tangled together, I had no good shot,” explained her husband, Robert Wiggins. “So I put two rounds in the ground by the coyote so that I could see if that sound would break it up. It did not, they kept going at it.”
Wiggins and Aiyda survived; however, the incident left scars and serious concerns about the coyote population in the area. Wiggins said the only thing she thought about was protecting her dog, which later needed some medical attention after getting scratched and bitten by the coyote.
“I don’t trust my own safe domain that I made my yard, because it was invaded,” she said.
Coyotes started appearing in South Carolina in 1978, migrating from the West because developers began building in their habitats.
Coyotes are now becoming a more common sight for residents in the Lowcountry and a major concern for pet owners.
Jay Butfiloski with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said the department receives reports on sightings of the coyotes, but there haven’t been any reports of a person being bit.
“We get a lot of reports of people seeing them now as far as you know, attacks or bites or things like that. It’s fairly rare,” said Butfiloski.
Areas like Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island have also reported increased coyote sightings recently.