ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Coyotes near Yale Avenue and Interstate 25 have killed about a dozen dogs in the last couple years, snatching many from back yards near the High Line Canal.
The latest victim, a 7-year-old Schnauzer named Pepper, died Friday night when a coyote broke through a fence to get to the dog.
A pit bull, Tally, jumped the fence to chase the coyote but suffered bites on her hind quarters.
“I didn’t realize it until I saw the coyote standing right there that the coyote had bit her and when she came up here all I saw was blood running out of her tail,” owner Stephen Newton said. “I didn’t think too much about it at the time because I was looking for Pepper.”
Shortly after the attack, a neighbor ran to the canal to try to help the dog.
“(The coyote) was circling, trying to get back to that dog to drag it off, so I was throwing sticks and whatever I could at it,” Steve Pundt said.
It’s unclear how many coyotes have been involved in the attacks. Other neighbors say a coyote has killed eight small dogs this summer. Four were killed in 2013.
Pundt’s dog, a Yorkie named Sparky, was killed at 3 a.m. two days earlier. The attack woke him up. He said he believes the coyote jumped the fence into his back yard, which runs along the canal.
“You get real emotional and then adrenaline picks up and you want to take care of the menace,” he said.
Neighbors said they wonder if it’s worth getting a new dog.
“I don’t want it to happen again, you get so attached to them. They become a part of your family that it’s just too hard of a loss,” Pundt said.
Newton hasn’t found his dog and is offering a $50 reward to anyone who can find Pepper’s body so he can bury
Local authorities told frustrated neighbors they shouldn’t try to shoot or trap the coyotes and suggested hiring a professional to catch them.
Because of their smaller size — typically they’re no more than 45 pounds — coyotes aren’t usually aggressive toward humans or larger dogs. But they will seek out small domestic prey. The U.S. Forest Service recommends residents prevent coyote attacks by:
– not feeding them
– eliminating water sources and bird seed
– disposing of trash so coyotes can’t get to it
– removing any pet food from the outdoors
– keeping pets and children inside at night
– fencing yards, especially with electrified fences at least 30 inches tall
– throwing rocks at them and making loud noises to discourage them from returning