Lifestyle & Human Interest

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


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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