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A dog killed 8 coyotes while protecting sheep in Georgia

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John Wierwille rolled out of bed early one November morning when he heard coyotes outside his Decatur, Georgia, home. But by the time the sheep herder came out to check on his flock, his sheepdogs were already on the scene.

Caspar, a 21-month-old Great Pyrenees, quickly led a counter-attack and jumped a four foot fence. Over the next few minutes, Wierwille said Casper had killed eight of the 11 coyotes on his property and chased the rest. The five sheep remained unharmed.

Despite sustaining life-threatening injuries in the Nov. 4 attack, Casper has since recovered and returned home on Wednesday, said Wierwille. The fearless sheepdog has become an internet hero since his story was first reported by Decaturish.

“It was chaos,” Wierwille, 55, told The Washington Post. “It was not how we would have liked things to go, but we are happy that he succeeded. He was doing his job, and that’s what I think everyone appreciates about him.

Wierwille started raising sheep a dozen years ago. Since retiring at age 50, the former pastor started a shepherding business, Ewe Can Do It Naturally. He rents now to the neighbors about 300 sheep that eat and remove dangerous plants, such as poison ivy and oak.

To protect his sheep, Wierwille adopted six Great Pyrenees, which were bred centuries ago to defend farm animals and can weigh over 100 pounds. In late September, Wierwille saw a Facebook post from a farmer advertising Casper, who was named after the friendly ghost for his white fur.

Wierwille said his new dogs usually argue with his sheep. But when 85-pound Casper arrived at the quarter-acre yard in Georgia, he instead rounded up the sheep and laid his head on the smaller one. When Casper encountered Wierwille’s 30 chickens, he ran around the coop with them.

“It was to say, ‘I got you. You’re mine now,'” Wierwille said.

When Wierwille heard the coyotes yapping last month, he said his dogs herded five sheep into a corner of the fence for protection. Casper, who Wierwille said had never been aggressive toward other animals, stood at the front of the pack, watching the 11 coyotes.

As Wierwille started running towards his house to grab some boots and a broom, he saw Casper jump the green fence. The dog bit off the coyotes’ heads, Wierwille said, and threw their bodies over his shoulder. Wierwille isn’t sure if the coyotes attacked first or if Casper was trying to defend his partner, Daisy, who was pregnant with eight puppies.

John Heldrich, the founder of Great Pyrenees Rescue of Atlanta, said Great Pyrenees typically scare away predators by barking and howling. But if they feel threatened, Great Pyrenees can be among the fiercest dogs, Heldrich said.

“They won’t stop until they feel their family is safe,” he added. “They will lay down their lives for their family, so to speak.”

Casper has disappeared for two days after the coyote attack. Wierwille feared the dog was dead, until Casper came out of the coop the morning of November 6.

The dog was in poor condition. Its tail had been torn off, its ears torn off and its body covered in wounds. Wierwille took Casper to a vet, who said he was in critical condition.

“The vet had some pretty serious conversations with us about whether or not [treatment] was worth it for him,” Wierwille said, adding, “But… [Casper’s] not a normal dog. He’s tough, and he’s got a purpose, and he probably wants to get back to it.

LifeLine Animal Project, a nearby shelter, raised enough to cover $15,000 in medical bills to amputate Casper’s tail and repair deep puncture wounds and patches of torn skin.

Casper will need at least two more months of recovery before he can herd sheep, so he’s adjusting to life as an indoor dog, Wierwille said. Casper waved his tail stump when he reunited with Wierwille on Wednesday.

“We have to figure out what his new goal will be,” Wierwille said. “It’s been a long road, and there’s still a long way to go. for us, but we will do it together. I’m happy to have it.

washingtonpost

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