At around 6:30 a.m. today, Mary Lou Gardner, 52, was walking her 18-pound shih tzu Jasmine when she spotted a coyote. It was the same coyote she and the neighbors had observed for over an hour the night before in the Greywood Drive area of Orangeburg in Rockland County. This had led to a coyote alert issued statewide.
But this time, she was alone, and this coyote was on the prowl. As the animal menacingly approached from in between two houses, Gardner held Jasmine in hand so she wouldn't run off and become an instant target for the coyote. "I took off my coat and threw it on the coyote," she told reporters. "It went after Jasmine. I started kicking the coyote. So the coyote turned on me and starting biting my leg."
The result: a deep puncture wound on Gardner's left leg from the bite. Soon after, the coyote ran off into the woods, while the 52-year-old woman limped to a neighbor's house nearby. The police were called and the arriving officer managed to fatally shoot the coyote. Gardner was transported to Nyack Hospital for her injuries; she was later given a tetanus shot and a rabies shot was administered to the shih tzu.
It wasn't immediately clear if the coyote had rabies, as the Rockland County Medical Examiner's Office tests the animal this week. But, according to the LoHud Journal News, "she's prepared" for what could lie ahead.
Woman fights off coyote to save her little dog. She was bitten by wild animal. pic.twitter.com/AottRhyyJc
— Anthony Johnson (@AJohnsonwabc7) March 25, 2014
If anything, the bite is a source of pride. Gardner explains: "I am glad it was me and not someone else. I have a lot of elderly neighbors and there are children here. I took one for the team."