By Tom Mustin

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – A coyote snatched a puppy right from a Centennial home’s backyard and it all happened with the owner nearby who tried to fight off the animal.

“It’s devastating. Devastating,” Centennial resident Debra Gania said.

Gania is keeping a close watch on her seven puppies after a brazen coyote attack.

“It’s too dangerous. I’m afraid to be in my own backyard now,” she told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.

CBS4's Tom Mustin interviews Debra Gania (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Tom Mustin interviews Debra Gania (credit: CBS)

Monday morning Gania had been watching the puppies in the back yard of her home. Suddenly, a large coyote leapt over a 6-foot fence and attacked Dylan — a 6-week old lab-shepard mix.

“I heard a thump and I saw it land right there,” said Gania.

Debra Gania points to where the coyote jumped her tall fence (credit: CBS)

Debra Gania points to where the coyote jumped her tall fence (credit: CBS)

As she watched in horror, the coyote snatched Dylan in its jaws and took off. Gania grabbed a garden hoe and gave chase.

“He tried to jump the fence first with the puppy in his mouth. It fell backwards it didn’t make it. I was just right on him ready to swing. He dropped the puppy and jumped over.”

Debra Gania with her garden hoe (credit: CBS)

Debra Gania with her garden hoe (credit: CBS)

The puppy suffered severe bite wounds to its neck and will have to be euthanized.

Gania says she’s noticed more and more coyotes in her suburban neighborhood, and they’ve become especially aggressive.

“They should not have just jumped in here with me standing here. They should be too afraid to do that, but they’re not.”

Dylan (credit: Debra Gania)

Dylan (credit: Debra Gania)

Colorado Parks and Wildlife says urban wildlife is a fact of life in Colorado. Right now hungry coyotes are on the prowl. Hazing coyotes and making them feel unwelcome, and keeping a close eye on pets are the best ways to keep animals safe.

Meanwhile, Gania is hoping her story will serve as a warning for other Colorado families.

“If they could have got my puppy they could get some toddler.”

Tom Mustin is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.