Coyotes Attacking, Killing South Metro Pets

Communities Band Together To Seek Solution

The coyote population is increasing in the south metro area and so is concern about safety.

Several homeowners say their dogs or cats have been attacked.

"It was terrible," said Mark Speer, as he recounted the night that a band of coyotes attacked his pug.

"I'd gone out to walk the dogs," Speer said. "One of them was on a leash, but the small one, Chilla, wasn't. She always stayed with me."

Speer said when he walked back to the front door, Chilla wasn't there.

"I ran in to get a flashlight," he said. "And then ran over to the canal open space."

"There were three coyotes down there. They had Chilla. We created as much ruckus as we could, screaming and yelling. They dropped her."

Speer said that Chilla survived, barely.

"We've definitely noticed an increase in attacks," said Dr. Kim Saltus, a veterinarian in Littleton.

Saltus said several homeowners have brought pets in to her clinic following an attack.

"Only one that I know of survived," she said. "And that was because it had an invisible fence collar and the coyote got shocked when it tried to take the dog over the fence."

On Wednesday, representatives from several south metro communities gathered to discuss the problem.

"We also discussed the probability of doing something with animals that actually threaten the public," said Sherry Patten, communications director for the city of Centennial.

Patten said no decisions were made, but wildlife officials told the group that coyotes are here to stay.

"We have to learn to haze them," said Jennifer Churchill of the Division of Wildlife. "If we can scare them every time we see them ... make noise, stomp your feet, clap your hands, throw rocks or sticks at them and make them know that they're not welcome near you."

Churchill said residents have to take steps to protect their pets.

She said when outdoors, pets should be kept on a short leash or in a fully enclosed kennel.

She advised pet owners to not leave pet food outside. Birdseed should not be left out either.

"If there's birdseed," she said, "there will be rodents, and if there are rodents, there will be coyotes."

State Sen. Joyce Foster is sponsoring a bill that requires the Commissioner of Agriculture and the Division of Wildlife to give a higher priority to their administration of predator control laws.

The intent is to protect humans from coyotes in the wild land-urban interface area.