Law-enforcement folks are trained on how to react in scary situations, and it could have been that knowledge that saved the life of a Jones County deputy sheriff after being attacked by a coyote.
“On June 4, 2014, around 11 p.m., I was riding my 4-wheeler on my property,” said Deputy Sheriff Paul Hathaway, who lives on Luke Smith Road south of Gray.
Out of the corner of his eye, Paul saw an animal charging toward him.
“My black lab usually goes with me, and I was thinking it was my dog coming until it jumped in my lap. Then, I knew something was up,” said Paul.
The coyote struck Paul so hard that it knocked him completely off his 4-wheeler.
“When he first jumped up, he bit me on my forearm,” said Paul. “The second bite was on my bicep. When we were on the ground, it bit me in the rib cage.”
Paul’s law-enforcement training went into action.
“I stuck my thumb as far as I could in the eye socket. When I did that, it turned loose and left,” said Paul. “That (decision) came from 15 years of law enforcement. You get a big man on you and you can’t get him off, you shove your finger in his eye, and he’s going to turn you loose.”
This incident wasn’t the only coyote attack in the area.
“About four days after I was attacked, there was a lady who lives on Rebel Drive, which as the crow flies is about a half a mile to a mile, and she let her little lap dog outside. A coyote came through her yard, grabbed her lap dog and took off with it,” said Paul.
Although coyotes have earned a bad rap with hunters because they continue to put a dent in summertime fawn populations, coyotes are shy around humans. The yote that jumped on Paul was most likely rabid. Paul had to receive a series of rabies vaccinations but is now back to full throttle and looking forward to deer season.