BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – Broomfield officials are working to remind pet owners that small dogs near open spaces are easy prey for coyotes.
No humans have been hurt by coyotes in the area since three children were bitten in 2011, but there have been a rash of conflicts between pets and the wild animals.
Coyotes in the southeastern part of the city have attacked dogs in their backyards at least 11 times since the start of the year, and six of those pets have died.
Prominent coyote danger warnings signs are on display at County Vista Park, and neighbors told CBS4 this week they are on alert.
“I saw one sitting on top of a 6 foot fence,” said resident Joe Ross, whose dog was almost a victim.
Ross said on a recent walk with his dog Zoe he spotted a coyote nearby.
“It was a younger coyote that had just finished killing a cat. It had a black cat in its mouth, and it dropped the cat and wanted to come after Zoe.”
Ross said he picked up his pet and started yelling.
“I just made a lot of noise threw some rocks at it. It picked up the cat it had killed and ran off,” Ross said.
Kristan Pritz, a spokeswoman for Broomfield, said coyotes can easily leap a six foot fence, and that any small dogs left alone in backyards that back up to open space might be fair game.
Pritz says coyotes are mating right now, and that small pets near open spaces are easy prey for hungry animals. She said residents need to be aware.
“Pets are part of your family and are special to you. We’re trying to get the word out to people,” she said.
Researchers are tracking the movement of coyotes in the city, and hazing programs which include shooting paintballs at the animals have been ongoing.
“Has the hazing program been a failure?” CBS4′s Tom Mustin asked Pritz.
“I don’t think we can say pro or con yet,” she said.
Parents like Diane Mora say when it comes to coyotes, common sense may be the best approach.
“Just be smart. Keep your kids close, keep small dogs on leashes. I hope it’s not something that will continue,” she said.