WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – A warning has been issued to pet owners in Westminster where there has been a growing number of coyote attacks on pets.

This month four families have lost their dogs.

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Police say most of the incidents are happening on the west side of the city.

“I heard a strange noise and found the coyote with the cat in his mouth,” said resident Lisa Lucas.

Many of her neighbors in the Countryside neighborhood know what it’s like to lose a pet to a coyote.

Westminster Police said that five dogs have been killed and one injured in the area since the first of the year.

In one case, a coyote killed two dogs in the same backyard.

“We have open space on either side. The coyotes are pretty bold. You have a false sense of security when you’re in a neighborhood,” said Lucas.

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According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife the coyotes are especially aggressive lately because January through March is their breeding season.

“They can be a little more territorial and a little less tolerant of dogs and other animals being near them,” said Jennifer Churchill from Colorado Parks And Wildlife.

There are several ways to protect pets. Don’t leave food outside and always keep an eye on them.

“It just takes a second. I mean, they’re quick animals, coyotes are. Don’t leave your pets unattended outside,” said Cheri Spottke from Westminster Police.

If a coyote is encountered, the more noise made the better.

Lucas hopes these warnings will spare other families from their grief.

“Our pets are part of our family. Losing a pet to something like that is awful,” said Lucas.

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Parks and Wildlife, along with Westminster Police, are going to hold a meeting for residents to inform them on these cases and address their concerns sometime in the next few weeks.