A run in with a rabid coyote

A story from the history of Earl B. Cragun 

“One Sunday morning when I was in my early teens, my sister Edna who had been outside saw a big dog. She didn’t’ know it was really a Coyote. It didn’t look quite right to her because it was frothing at the mouth. By the time my father and some of us had gone outside to see what it was all about, it had gone over westward to the Davidson Home.  

Sammy Davidson noticed it acting peculiar and suspected it was sick or probably rabid. He knew that a coyote wouldn’t ordinarily be down from the hillside. Now Dave Moore who lived eastward from our home and east of the Church in the Old Dick Barrett home had seen this animal earlier and had followed it with his gun. 

Big Sammy Davidson didn’t have the speed to get from one door to another, nor from his house to the little house in the rear to get his gun. By that time Dave Moore arrived and killed the Coyote. This happened at the rear door of the house. They brought the dead animal to our house and tossed it into a horse buggy that was near the front gate. When the word got around after Sunday school many came to see it, especially the children.  

In a few days our dog and pigs and two of our cows began acting strangely. The dog acted so strange that my father immediately suspected it was rabid. He took our family dog up into the field and killed it. The pigs were doing the same thing. They would run and put their snouts down on the ground and keel over, so my father destroyed the ones that were doing this.  

Two cows were also acting very unusual. They were moaning and running into the other cows. They were also in distress and pain. My Father tied them up to the corral fence, which was located just west of the old home. I remember how terribly they sounded into the night. They were having such a horrible time that my mother insisted that my father go out and do something about it. He finally had to kill those two cows which had the rabies along with the pigs and the dog. Evidentially the Coyote had come into the yard and bitten these animals. It was an experience many of us well remember.” 

Rabies is a virus that can spread to people and pets if they are bitten by a rabid animal. Thankfully Earl and his neighbors weren’t bit! If a person doesn’t receive appropriate medical care after being bit, the rabies virus can attack the central nervous system and in most cases will ultimately result in death.

For a long time scientists have chalked up rabies to be 100% fatal once a person begins experiencing symptoms of the disease. However, in the past decade there have been multiple cases of a person surviving without vaccination before or after being infected. Geanna Giese was one of these survivors who got the disease after she was bitten by a bat she was trying to rescue in her church building. Even so, I wouldn’t risk hanging out with rabid animals and when in doubt, go to the doctor to get the post bite vaccine.



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