A little more than a month after Wheaton officials warned residents to take precautions after coyotes grabbed two small dogs and fatally injured a third, another resident has reported the loss of a dog to coyotes.
Allison Jacobs, a Wheaton teacher and mother of two, last week wrote to Wheaton Patch to report that her dog had become the fourth coyote fatality since November.
“... Our dog disappeared from our fenced in yard yesterday morning (Jan. 22) without a trace,” she wrote in an email to Wheaton Patch. “There were no human footprints leading from our yard, the gates were closed, and due to the snow there was no way the dog could have gotten under the fence.
“We have coyotes in the neighborhood and believe that a coyote took her from our yard,” she continued. “Paw prints were observed leading away from the yard. This all happened in a matter of minutes.”
She learned from her neighbors this was believed to be the fourth such attack on pet dogs since November.
“Dogs are disappearing at an alarming rate, and I am afraid for my surviving dog's life,” she wrote. “I am also afraid to go outside with my other dog because I don't know what is awaiting me or my children.”
Jacobs said she wanted to alert the community that the attacks on small pets continues to be a concern.
Likely the best solution is what the city advised in December, when it issued the release.
Typically elusive, coyotes try to stay out of sight and generally are scavengers or hunt small prey such as rodents. But food becomes scarce in winter, which typically also is when younger coyotes mature and venture out on their own, making competition for food even more intense.
Since coyotes are opportunistic feeders, a small pet left unattended, even for just a minute or so, becomes a quick meal they can capture swiftly and efficiently, to the chagrin of the owner.
Police said in December that fenced-in yards are not enough to protect a small pet and urged residents to not leave small pets alone outdoors, and even advised keeping their small pets on a leash while outdoors.
Read more about the steps authorities advise when dealing with coyotes in the Wheaton Patch story on Dec. 12, 2013: Wheaton Police: Coyote Attacks on Small Dogs Reported.