FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Residents in one north Fort Worth neighborhood are concerned, after a coyote attacked and killed a family’s toy poodle. The attack happened just one day after the city issued a warning about an increase in coyote sightings.
Residents at the Monterra Village Apartments, at Interstate-35W and North Tarrant Parkway, say they’ve seen and heard coyotes in a nearby field numerous times, but they say Thursday morning was the first time they know of one of the animals becoming aggressive.
“Usually when I do take him out, if it’s not going to be right there, I’ll have him on a leash,” explained dog owner Ryan Johnson.
Johnson now thinks twice about taking his pet Yorkie outside after a coyote killed his neighbor’s toy poodle Thursday morning.
Pam Shope witnessed the attack. “He [the coyote] approached the woman with the dog, it wasn’t like the dog was running free and he came out. He came up to her and she ran and he got the dog.”
Shope heard her neighbor screaming and ran to help. “I went after the coyote with a broom and he was not afraid at all,” she recalled.
Residents called 911 and a Fort Worth police officer came out and found the coyote in an adjacent field. “The coyote observed the officer, obviously dropped the poodle from its mouth and lunged at the officer,” said Sgt. Pedro Criado, with the Fort Worth Police Department.
The aggressive action toward the officer proved fatal for the coyote. “We heard about four shot gun blasts, and I saw the coyote get up and go toward the officer, and he shot again,” said Shope. “Unfortunately he couldn’t save the dog.”
Residents living in a nearby upscale apartment complex say this isn’t the first time a coyote has come close to their homes. “I would hear them at night when the sirens would set them off and it sounded like quite a few, like a pack,” recalled resident Karen Schwager.
Barry Alexander, who is an animal control supervisor with the city, says, “Because Fort Worth expanded at a big pace their [the coyotes] habitats, where they normally run free, are restricted.” Alexander went onto say, “They’re [the coyotes] usually more afraid of people than people are of them. If they become unafraid of people it’s usually because they’ve been fed or have easy access to a food source.”
Animal control officials plan to test the dead coyote for rabies, but there haven’t been any recent confirmed cases of rabies in coyotes.
Officers say the best way to keep wild animals away from your home is to never feed them and not to leave any food out – even pet food – in your backyard.