By Tom Mustin

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – There’s a warning for pet owners about coyote attacks after at least two dogs and a chicken have been killed.

The coyotes has been busy in Highlands Ranch, specifically the area near Wildcat Reserve Parkway and Broadway.

“They’re out looking for little animals and looking for something to eat,” said Wes Stites.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“They are the talk of the town in Highlands Ranch — coyotes, praying on neighborhood pets,” Stites said.

“I’ve got two little dogs and am afraid to leave them out,” resident Dennis Chicken told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.

In the past few days, at least three dogs and a chicken have been snatched during the day from backyards of homes in the Firelight Neighborhood.

Chicken worries about dogs like Koby and Vader. He says on Sunday afternoon a coyote struck a few feet from his home.

“Attacked one of my neighbor’s chickens, and walked right up the road right here,” he said.

Dennis Chicken is interviewed by CBS4's Tom Mustin (credit: CBS)

Dennis Chicken is interviewed by CBS4’s Tom Mustin (credit: CBS)

Chicken says the coyote casually strolled down the street with several people a few feet away. A neighbor snapped a picture of the animal eating the bird on his front lawn.

“I’m more worried about children than I am dogs. It’s very brazen to come up in the middle of the day, to come walking up to people’s backyards,” said Chicken.

Residents have taken pictures of several different coyotes wandering through the neighborhood, far from any open space.

Jennifer Churchill with Colorado Parks and Wildlife says humans need to “haze” coyotes — meaning make loud threatening noises to keep them away.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“Be obnoxious and unwelcoming. If we just watch them walk by, they have no reason to be afraid of us. They’re going to feel pretty comfortable,” Churchill said.

Churchill says with easy food sources and no reason to be afraid, the coyotes will be back. Meanwhile, neighbors like Chicken say something has to give.

“I don’t mind living near them. I just feel they’re too close,” he said.

Churchill says mating season is just a few weeks away. That means coyotes may be more visible. Her message — do whatever you can to make the animals feel unwelcome.

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.