Coyote kills family dog in southwest suburbs

January 29, 2010 4:38:11 PM PST
A coyote attack has claimed the life of a family dog in Palos Heights in unincorporated Cook County. The dog owner is distraught, and demanding animal control officials do something. The family surveyed the area where the dog was attacked Thursday night two minutes after Hite's family returned from grocery shopping. After greeting her family, Bella headed to the back yard and her friends, the deer.

A neighbor's dog was killed in a similar fashion last year.

"They're coming closer to the home. I see them walking down the street at 6 a.m. when I'm getting ready for work," said Hite.

Hite is set to deliver twin boys on Monday to join their sister, Taylor whose best friend, until now, was Bella. Hite and her parents have want Cook County Animal Control to relocate dens of coyotes.

"They come close to your home and that scares me and now I am going to be having two more children and keeping your eye on three kids is a lot harder than one," said Hite.

Hite realizes that she has more risk living on the edge of a forest preserve, but at $10,000 it's too expensive for the teacher and her husband to fence in a one-acre yard.

"It just kind of seems like people are being fenced in and the animals are being allowed to run free and I am hoping that maybe something can be done about that," said Hite.

Cook County Animal Control says they were not called to respond to the incident, which follows an attack in Wheaton where a West Highland terrier was attacked by coyotes Wednesday. Buddy had to be put down too.

Ironically, Hite's father is an animal control officer in neighboring Alsip.

"It starts at home. We have to take the first steps we are the intelligent ones. The thing that worries me is that these animals are getting so close to home. What if it is a small child that is to go outside," said Vince Cullen, father & Alsip Public Works director.

Cook County Animal Control administrator Dr. Donna Alexander told ABC7 that most reports of coyote sightings can be handled with public education regarding safety. She says the key is to not feed coyotes which encourages habituation. Keep garbage can lids secured and don't let your small pets out alone in the dark.

Dr. Alexander says it's coyote breeding season and increased coyote sightings do not necessarily equal an increase in danger to humans or domestic animals if you heed these tips.