Richmond pet owners are on high alert after a pair of coyotes attacked a small dog over the weekend.
Pierre, 15, a toy cockapoo, was in the yard when his owner heard a yelp — then spotted the two coyotes, which retreated. Pierre was taken to an emergency vet, but his injuries were severe; he had to be euthanized.
“The description of the dog owner and the prints submitted and the behavior of the animal certainly spells coyote,” said Aaron Proctor, a district wildlife biologist with the Virginia Game & Inland Fisheries. This in a statement to Richmond-area CBS affiliate WTVR-6.
Proctor said the public needs to understand that coyotes can adapt to living just about anywhere. “Typically coyotes are going to take smaller prey: small dogs, cats, rabbit- and rodent-size prey,” he noted.
It’s important for residents in most areas of the U.S. to take extra precautions to protect small children and pets.
“We had heard for the last year or two that there were coyotes in the neighborhood,” said neighbor Kelly Baldini. “When you live in the city, coyotes, really, it’s not the first thing that comes to mind you know.”
Resident Jodey Smith is heeding the warning. “I have three children, I have a cat and you know I keep a very close eye when they are in the yard,” Baldini added.
Veterinarian Richard Teague offered a few tips to protect pets on WRIC-8‘s broadcast.
“Being with your pets, not turning them out alone at night helps, as well as making noise when you go out,” said Teague, who also encourages pet owners to use a leash and turn a yard light on when taking pets outside.