Decatur sheepdog who saved flock from coyotes wins People's Choice Pup Award

A Georgia sheepdog's act of courage to protect his owner's flock from coyotes has won him the title of People's Choice Pup.

Over 100,000 voted, and Casper the Great Pyrenees was the People's Choice Pup in the Farm Bureau's 2024 Farm Dog of the Year contest.

FOX 5 first brought Casper's story to viewers in 2022, when the dog was recovering from his heroic actions.

Caper works on John Wierwiller's sheep farm in Decatur. On that day, he, Wierwiller, and the sheep were on a walk when a group of more than a half-dozen coyotes approached.

Normally, wild animals could be shooed away, but this pack was persistent.

"I wasn't afraid they were going to attack me or anything, but they were focused on Casper," Wierwiller said.

But Casper was ready for a fight to protect the flock. 

The fight lasted for half an hour and continued around the creek near the property.

After that, Casper disappeared, leaving only patches of blood. Wierwiller said he sent messages on social media asking for people to help find him.

Two days later, Casper returned home - his face popping out from the farm's chicken hutches. 

"He was kinda looking at me like, ‘Boss, stop looking at how bad I look. Just take care of me,’" Wierwiller said.

Casper, a Decatur sheep dog, is recovering from a recent coyote attack. His owner said he heroically protected his flock.

Casper, a Decatur sheepdog, is recovering from a recent coyote attack. His owner said he heroically protected his flock. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

Wierwiller said his loyal dog was in rough shape.

"It looked like a coyote grabbed his skin and peeled it right off," he said.

That's when LifeLine Animal Project stepped in to help. The organization has a mission to end the euthanasia of healthy animals in Atlanta by raising funds for treatment.

The group launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover Casper's $15,000 hospital bill. The campaign raised more than it needed, the rest went toward helping save an animal's life in the future.

As the winner of the People's Choice Pup Award, Casper will receive a plaque and a gift basket of Purina products. The Farm Bureau is also donating $1,000 to Lifeline Animal Project.

"Thank you also to everyone who voted for our brave, determined, and goofy livestock protector," Wierwille wrote on Facebook. "We are proud of Casper and glad he has a long life of doing what he loves ahead of him."

From all of us here at FOX 5, congratulations Casper!