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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Family Hears Their Dog 'Screaming for Her Life', But When They Rush Outside, Attacker is Long Gone

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A family in Huntington Beach, California, was recently shocked by a brazen attack on one of their beloved, four-legged family members while they were just feet away.

The Patriarca family has five kids and three dogs, but they almost lost one of their smaller dogs, a Boston terrier named Sadie, recently.

Freddy and Melissa were inside their California home, mere feet from the yard, the door to the backyard open. Their yard is well-protected, with a 6-foot fence around the perimeter — but that wasn’t enough.

“All of a sudden I heard Sadie, our Boston terrier, just screaming for her life,” dad Freddy told KTLA. “I came running outside, Cody almost knocked me down. He was coming out 100 miles per hour. We didn’t know what was going on.”

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Cody, the family’s Labrador retriever, clearly had a sense of what was happening and rushed to help. By the time Freddy made it out into the yard, though, there was nothing to see.

It was only after the family checked their security camera that the reality of the situation sank in.

“I checked my surveillance cameras and we saw a coyote just ghost-like come over the wall really quick,” Freddy told KTTV. “It was scary. It happened so quick.”

Melissa couldn’t bring herself to watch the video at first, saying it was too traumatic.

“Hearing her screech was more than enough that I could handle at that point,” she explained. “I finally got the nerve to look at it and it was hard to watch because just to know she was in pain and she felt threatened in her own home [was hard].”

Sadie was looked over by a veterinarian and given painkillers and antibiotics for her puncture wounds. Thankfully, the damage was not severe and she didn’t have any internal injuries.

They’re calling Cody a hero for scaring off the coyote, and are thankful their even smaller dog wasn’t outside at the time.

“Cody did save the day,” Freddy said. “If Cody wasn’t around, she [Sadie] would be gone. If Zoey was taken first, a smaller dog, she would have been totally gone.”

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The family’s sense of peace and security in their own yard has been shattered, though, and they’re taking more measures to protect their kids — both two-legged and four, as this isn’t the first harrowing attack in the area.

In April, a toddler was attacked on the beach by two coyotes. Both of the animals were dispatched and the girl survived with bite wounds, but it’s certainly put residents on edge and the city is trying to figure out what to do.

“It’s just getting a lot, especially when I’m hearing about children getting attacked,” Melissa said. “I’m nervous for my own children … it’s scary.”

For now, the family is escorting their dogs outside for potty breaks, installing floodlights in the backyard and keeping a baseball bat handy.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking