‘Maybe they licked him awake?’: Coyote attack excuse doubted by authorities 

by BETH ALTENA

An incident at a local country club was explained by the victim as an attack by a pack of coyotes, but the Kent County Sheriff Detective tasked with investigating the case is doubtful. Sgt. Joel Roon said a male individual reported injuries just after midnight on Sunday, June 17. He said he was attacked by a pack of coyotes on the golf course.

Roon said a maintenance cart was found and it is suspected that the individual was driving it intoxicated and crashed into an outdoor vendor display that included indoor outdoor carpet. The victims injuries were consistent with “rug burns.”

“He said he was attacked, but he wasn’t dirty and his injuries didn’t seem consistent with the story,” Roon said. “They weren’t puncture wounds.” He said evidence was consistent that the person was likely driving the golf cart investigators found crashed at the vendor display and later the person “fessed up” that he had crashed it. Toxicology tests were not yet complete to show the victim intoxicated but that was the conclusion Roon expected.

“It was a unique alibi. His injuries were more consistent with rug burn injuries when he crashed into a podium with indoor/outdoor carpeting.”

Michigan Department of Natural Resources expert Fur Bearer Specialist Adam Bump also doubted the coyote attack story. He said there has only been, to his knowledge, one fatal coyote attack and that took place in Canada and is unique. He said it is very unlike a coyote to attack a human or for a pack of coyotes to attack a human. Incidents in which humans have been bitten have occurred but are rare and usually associated with feeding coyotes which can nip a person accidentally.

He said coyotes are present across all of North America and in healthy populations. They are in all counties in Michigan, even in urban locations. He said there are tips on the DNR website about how to coexist with coyotes and tips on not encouraging them into your outdoor living areas. There is no estimate on the number of coyotes in Michigan, and he said he is unaware of any incidents in which coyotes have injured humans in Michigan.

The Squire suggested the rug burns could have happened when individuals in the coyote pack rubbed  against the victim and Bump countered with one even better. “Maybe they licked him awake.”