TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - "The coyotes are in town, and they will attack your pets.”
That's a lesson Walt Frederick says he and his ten-pound Shih Tzu mix, Penelope, learned the hard way.
"One night I took her outside to go to the bathroom before bed time for her, and I was standing on the patio and she was probably 50 feet away, and I heard her yelp. I immediately knew that she was in trouble for some reason,” Frederick said. “I ran over there and found that a coyote had grabbed her by the neck and was running away with her."
Frederick sprang into action.
"I yelled at the coyote and it tripped,” he said. “It looked back at me and it tripped and it fell, and it let go of Penelope. Of course she ran back to the house, and the coyote ran on, ran out of the area, and I haven't seen in since."
It’s a problem that's not unique to Frederick’s neighborhood.
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism furbearer biologist Matt Peak says coyotes have become more common in urban areas in the last decade.
"The food they need can be found in the city and they are able to find just enough shelter or places to den and spend the day and stuff like that,” Peek said. “Their major threat is vehicles, but people can't shoot at them or anything like that the way they can in the country. So it has taken time, but basically they have just adapted to living amongst people in the cities."
Penelope is recovering from puncture wounds, but fortunately she'll be okay.
Frederick says he's taking precautions to make sure this doesn't happen again.
"We no longer let out without being on a leash with us, because we are concerned," Frederick said. "There have been neighbors where they've lost dogs to a coyote."
Peek says Frederick is taking the best precautions: don't leave small pets unattended outside, and make sure they're on a leash.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has a page dedicated to handling coyotes in urban areas.