ERIE, Colo. (CBS4)– Residents in the town of Erie are teaming up to haze coyotes, after more than 32 pets were attacked in the past six months.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife and local veterinarian Dr. Bonnie Abbott teamed up to form a community organization, after Abbott realized her dog was not the only one that was killed by wild coyotes.
“I had a three-year-old border terrier named Lander, who was the sweetest dog you could ever imagine,” Abbott told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.
Abbott said she let Lander out in her backyard five minutes before the attack happened. She said she believed the yard was secured at the time.
”A screech was heard,” Abbott said. “I ran out to see what happened, and (Lander) was gone. Just gone.”
With 32 confirmed cases of coyote attacks on pets, and other reports of the wild animals approaching children, community hazing of the coyotes was proposed.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Jennifer Churchill told CBS4 part of the blame could be placed on humans developing open spaces the predators have lived in for years.
“Coyotes do well next to human beings, because we provide food shelter water and space,” Churchill said. “We expect animals to go after other animals. But, if they are behaving in a way that is a threat to human beings, then that starts to tip the scales, and we realize we need to do something.”
“We had a few cases where animals went missing due to coyotes,” said Kevin Erbe, a resident in Erie.
Churchill told CBS4 there were reports of coyotes entering homes via dog doors, in chase of pets.
“It is unimaginable to think of a coyote coming through a dog door,” said Carter Morgan, an Erie resident with small dogs.
Abbott, with tears in her eyes, said her experience with the coyotes attacking has inspired her to help others prevent attacks.
“Having it happen to me, I wanted to make sure this never happened to any of my patients,” Abbott said.
Residents said they would team up to help haze the animals by scaring them with loud noises or throwing rocks at them.
Some said they felt bad the animals were being invaded by humans. However, they acknowledged the need to make changes.
“We are in their space. It is sad for them, but that is where it is at,” Morgan said.
“If we want to live and coexist with wildlife, and we want to enjoy that, we have to be proactive and responsive,” Churchill said.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.