By David A. Farrell, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
WHEAT’S CURVE —
A resident who lives near here, Shane Sauls, said over the past three years he had about 10 cats and dogs to disappear overnight, and he figured it was coyotes getting them.
“One night I heard one of my dogs barking down near the pond on my property, and I never saw him again,” he said.
Wheat’s Curve is about five miles west of Picayune on Mississippi Highway 43 North.
Neighbors also reported missing dogs and cats, and one neighbor told Sauls that his cat was snatched right off the porch as it scratched and screamed to get back in the house. The animal that snatched the cat off the porch was just a blur.
While Sauls figured it was a coyote, and he had killed several around his place, he was not prepared for the incident that transpired recently as he walked out to feed his chickens.
“There it stood by the pond. It looked like a timber wolf. I have never seen anything like this. It even had the color of a timber wolf,” said Sauls.
Sauls stood motionless. The animal was within a range of him where it could have easily taken several bounds and attacked him.
“I don’t mind saying I was scared; I had never seen anything like it before,” said Sauls.
The coyote, or wolf, or whatever it was, fixed its eyes on Sauls, like laser beams, and froze, too, like Sauls.
“So here we were in a ... standoff. I began to ease back. It didn’t move. I finally reached the house and got my shotgun, and went back outside, but it was gone. Then I saw it out of the side of my eye, movement, and I wheeled around and shot it instantly. It had come up close to the chicken pen and was evidently looking for a meal,” said Sauls.
Sauls was not sure what it was. He sent state wildlife officials an email with pictures, and they told him it could be a what’s called a “coydog,” a mix between a coyote and a dog, but they admitted they had never seen one this big or this color.
“They wanted me to send them the jawbone so they could classify it but I never did,” he said.
“I, too, have killed and seen coydogs,” said Sauls, “and I have never seen one this big and this color.”
“There’s no way else to describe it, though, than saying it looked like a timber wolf,” said Sauls.
“It would be good if we could have captured it and studied it, but this thing with its size, could bring down an adult. Small kids would definitely be in danger if this animal were near them,” he said.
“So I shot it and killed it. I felt I had no choice,” he said.