WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- A metro-area man wants to warn others after his dog was mauled to death by a coyote.
Jordan Coleman, who lives in a Westminster neighborhood, let his dog, Dolly, outside as he does every morning when he gets home from work.
“She’s really excited to come outside every day. That’s one of her favorite things before her meal,” said Coleman.
The 13-year-old Chihuahua mix had belonged to his mother who died of cancer in 2010.
“My mom made me promise her I would take care of those dogs the way she did. [Dolly] was basically my daughter," Coleman said.
Each morning was the same. Dolly would go outside for a few minutes, go to the bathroom, run around, then come to the back door.
But when she didn’t immediately return the morning of June 19, Coleman went looking for her.
“I just figured maybe she was back in a corner or found something she was chewing on," he said.
Instead, he discovered the dog at the edge of the yard — mauled and motionless.
“Immediately, I saw deep wounds on her chest and I could see blood on her head," Coleman said.
Dolly’s attacker was only a few feet away.
“I saw the coyote had just jumped the fence and ran through the neighbor’s yard right here. I tried to check on her but it was already too late," Coleman said.
Coleman says in that moment, he felt helpless.
“It’s painful. It feels like someone murdered her. And it’s not a person — it’s an animal," he said.
Up to that point, he had only ever seen rabbits and raccoons in the area.
“You don’t think about coyotes, not here," Coleman said.
But Colorado Parks and Wildlife says coyotes are something pet owners should be aware of, no matter where they live.
“It’s an issue that we’re going to deal with. Our urban areas make good habitats for the animals and we have to learn how to coexist with them,” said CPW spokesman Jason Clay. “Coyotes are very adaptable and they have adapted very well to our urban area. Urban areas have everything a coyote needs: shelter, water and food.”
Clay says a fenced yard isn’t enough to prevent your pet from becoming prey.
“If you have a 6-foot fence and you think a coyote won’t be able to get into that backyard, they can scale that real easily and get in," he said.
Clay recommends investing in some sort of enclosure if you keep your animals outside and keeping a tidy yard.
“Don’t allow a lot of hiding places in your yard, whether that be for a coyote or some of the other smaller critters," he said.
Clay also said pet food should not be kept outside. Dishes should also not be cleaned outdoors.
“Coyotes will eat fruit. So if you have a crabapple tree and they fall as the year goes on, coyotes can come in and eat those," he said.
Coleman also cautions people to keep an eye on their pets, even if you’re letting them outside for a just a few minutes.
“I feel very guilty I didn’t educate myself before letting her go out here and doing what she wanted to do when there was a danger out here," Coleman said.
We also asked CPW what to do if you encounter a coyote. The agency recommends:
- Face the coyote and stand as tall as possible
- Make a lot of noise
- Throw sticks or rocks as a last resort
- Do not turn your back or run away
Laura Wilson produced this report.