Javelinas attack dog near county line
STOCKDALE -- It’s not every day that you hear about a javelina attack, but that is precisely what happened in the north part of the county last month.
On March 13, at approximately 7:15 a.m., “Mary” heard a commotion outside of her home that sits on 20 acres near the Wilson/Guadalupe county line. Believing it was the neighbor’s dog, Mary opened the door to her house and was startled by a group of about seven javelinas. Her dog Gabby had been outside and quickly ran in through the open door, but Mary’s dog Harmony went the other way.
In the blink of an eye, Harmony, a blue heeler-Australian shepherd mix, was fully engaged with the javelinas. Mary said she began to make noise and yell at the collared peccaries, but couldn’t frighten them away.
Moments later, Gabby ran back out of the house, and “lured” the javelinas away from Harmony. Mary said Gabby made a lap around the barn and returned to the house well ahead of the javelinas, while giving Mary an opportunity to get Harmony into the house.
With herself and the dogs secured inside, Mary telephoned a neighbor who promptly responded with gun in hand. The javelinas made a motion toward the neighbor, and several shots were fired at the overly aggressive javelinas. The animals eventually walked off into the tree line.
Mary shifted her attention to Harmony, and initially attempted to doctor the dog herself. She later said that the more hair she cut away, the more wounds she discovered. Realizing the severity of Harmony’s injuries, Mary took her beloved pet to a veterinarian for care. Harmony survived, but will be left with a number of scars, and Mary was left with $800 in medical expenses.
Mary made a phone call to Wilson County Game Warden David Nieto, and he responded to the scene. He looked around and, while the animals were nowhere to be found, he said the tracks were plentiful, and it was, in fact, javelinas.
The group of javelinas hasn’t been seen at Mary’s house since then, and she is glad they are keeping their distance.
Trent Teinert, a natural resources specialist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, offered some advice to help keep residents safe from such encounters. Teinert said it’s important to not allow food sources to be easily accessible around the house. Pet food, birdseed, fruit, and even trash can all be an attractive food source for wild animals, including javelinas. In addition, some flowering plants, such as tulips, can be an attractive food source for javelinas. Poultry wire is often a good deterrent to help protect gardens and flower beds. Javelinas often sleep in caves and cave-like areas, so crawl spaces under houses that are left open can be an attractive option.
Javelinas, which are members of the peccary family, travel in small herds referred to as “family groups.” They have a small home range and tend to be largely nocturnal during the hotter months of the year, but also move in the early morning and late afternoon. Their primary food sources are prickly pear cacti, mesquite beans, lechuguilla, and insects.
Teinert confirmed that javelinas have poor eyesight. When threatened, they can and will defend themselves very effectively with sharp canine teeth or “tusks.” Because coyotes are a natural predator for the javelina, domesticated dogs are often treated as aggressors, and the herds will fight to defend themselves against these perceived threats. Still, aggressive encounters with humans are said to be very rare.
If javelinas are encountered, Teinert and Nieto suggest attempting to scare them away by making loud noises or throwing rocks.
For more information about javelinas and other indigenous wildlife in Texas, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website at www.tpwd.state.tx.us.