Grieving family says Centennial, state need to do more to protect pets from growing coyote population

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- A Centennial family is grieving the loss of their dog that was killed by a coyote in their backyard Wednesday.

They say the city and state have to do more to protect people and pets from the wild animals.

"We found her in between the lilac bushes and this rock. ... It was ugly. She was torn up pretty good," Tom Bowen said.

He and his wife, Terry Bowen, found 11-year-old Abby dead. Their veterinarian confirmed a coyote killed her.

The coyote likely came through a drainage ditch behind their Centennial home in the 2700 block of East Peakview Circle.

"I have lived here 15 years. My wife has lived here 24 years. We've never experienced any kinds of problems like this," Tom Bowen said.

They thought their 6-foot privacy fence protected them -- and now feel betrayed by its false security. But they feel worse for their little dog they rescued 10 years ago.

"It's like losing a family member. It's indescribable," Tom Bowen said.

Communities across Colorado continue to deal with this issue. The night before Abby died, neighboring Greenwood Village held a community meeting to discuss coyotes.

"I understand there are people who say kill them all," an unidentified Greenwood Village police officer said at the standing-room-only meeting.

It’s a problem in which even the police are not immune.

"I was walking my dogs this morning down south in Highlands Ranch and a coyote was stalking me and my two dogs," Greenwood Village officer Joe Gutgsell said.

He said he had to scare it away by making a loud sound like a growing bear.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife told the Bowens they need to co-exist with wildlife and never let pets out of their sight at night.

"We shouldn't have to worry about our pets in our backyard with our fences. How did it come to this?" Tom Bowen said.

They say cities and the state needs to better control the growing coyote population. He said controlling coyote’s food source -- like the huge amount of rabbits in their neighborhood -- would help.

"We shouldn't have to live in a fortress, afraid to go out in our yards," he said.

Wildlife experts said to keep coyotes away from your home, pick up fruit on the ground from trees, keep trash covered and don't leave out dog or cat food.

If you see a coyote, scare them away by yelling, using an air horn or even shaking a can full of rocks -- anything to make them feel threatened around people.

The Bowens said they will be attending Centennial’s City Council meeting on Monday night to try to make their neighborhood more safe.