HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – There are more than 2,000 acres of open space in Highlands Ranch, and wildlife experts there say this is the time to be on high alert for the coyotes who live there.

Resident Lexi DiLacqua told CBS4 her small dog was killed on Monday night when a coyote attacked it and took the dog in its mouth before she could scare it away.

“I heard some screams that sounded like a small child,” she said of the attack.

Officials in Douglas County say they are getting at least two to three reports per week about coyote attacks on pets in the area.

City park ranger and outdoor education specialist Laura Lacerte says that coyote pups are being born in April and May. The coyote parents therefore become more visible to protect their young and find food at this time of year.

“(They are) just being very protective of their home, where the babies are. Just like any mom or dad would do with their kids,” Lacerte said.

Lacerte said human families need to be smart and realize coyotes are on the prowl, and that small animals like DiLacqua’s dog Bella can be easy targets.

Bella (credit: Lexi DiLacqua)

Bella (credit: Lexi DiLacqua)

“She was my princess. She was my only girl, and we’re going to miss her a lot,” said DiLacqua.

Delacqua said she had just let Bella out in the backyard when the coyote jumped over her fence and attacked the dog, a maltese.

“I was able to scare the coyote away, but she had some pretty bad injuries. We rushed her to the vet, and it was just too late,” she told CBS4.

Lexy says she is heartbroken over the death of her dog, and hopes other pet owners will be careful.

“My son doesn’t know that she’s gone yet. It’s going to be very hard. They were best friends,” she said.

Bella (credit: Lexi DiLacqua)

Bella (credit: Lexi DiLacqua)

Officials say if you see a coyote while walking along a trail, make yourself as big as possible and make a lot of noise and try to scare the animal away.


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