Coyote attack on tiny puppies brings out the fighter in “ROCKY!”

By John Van Zante

Rancho Santa Fe–When a coyote attacked a litter of Shepherd-blend puppies the, “runt” seemed doomed. But now, “Rocky” has fought back and is expected to become available for adoption this Wednesday at noon at Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) in Rancho Santa Fe. Center officials are warning the public that this is, “Coyote puppy season” and that all pets are considered at-risk when they are outdoors.

“Rocky is a 2-month-old puppy that was transferred to us from a Los Angeles County Rescue,” says HWAC spokesman John Van Zante. “We were told that he was grabbed by a coyote. At less than 5 pounds, he’s about half the size of the 5 other puppies in the litter, which made him easy prey. We have no idea how he managed to get away, but he paid the price with a gaping, open wound that ran the length of his left side.”

"Rocky" with two of his littermates. Courtesy photo.

Van Zante says that Rocky’s wound was stitched up and he doesn’t seem to be showing any long-term effects. “Our staff veterinarian, Dr. Heather Carter, says that Rocky will have some scar tissue from such a large wound. The skin on his left side might be a bit tight as he matures. But we’re confident that he’ll grow up to be a happy, healthy, 40 pound family dog.”

“Rocky’s siblings seem to understand that their little brother is special,” says Van Zante. “Eight week old puppies are generally all over each other, romping and playing. The other puppies are taking it easy on Rocky. They seem to sense that he can’t play as rough as they do.”

Last week a neighbor called the Center reporting that a coyote had attacked and killed his dog, leaving him with a litter of six, 1-week-old, Chihuahua puppies that require bottle feeding. “This can happen to puppies or kittens, adult dogs and cats, large or small. The coyotes are feeding their pups and that means they need food. If it’s edible, it’s fair game. And you don’t have to be in a rural area. I’ve seen coyotes in Balboa Park. Don’t take the chance.”

“Rocky” is scheduled to be available when Helen Woodward Animal Center’s adoption kennels open at Noon on Wednesday. His adoption fee will be $295 plus a 1-time microchip registration fee. His adopting family will receive 2 passes to SeaWorld and a certificate for a 1-night stay at Club Pet boarding at HWAC.

For more information visit the Center at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa, Fe, call (858) 756-4117, or visit



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