Warning issued after coyote kills couple’s pug

Posted at 9:48 PM, Oct 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-10 21:18:42-04

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR) –- Wildlife experts say if you own a small pet, and live near the Chesterfield County airport, it's best to keep them indoors.

When CBS 6 News first got the call from the Thornes, they thought a bobcat had killed their pug. But after we showed experts a picture, they told us it was a coyote. In fact, some of the images we showed Wednesday night were graphic evidence of a violent encounter.

Little Yancy was a big part of the Thorne family who live in Chesterfield County.

"We loved her a lot and took good care of her,” said James Thorne. “She meant the world to us."

Yancy was killed Monday afternoon in her own backyard off Leafycreek Drive near Harry Daniel Park.

"I saw bite marks on her neck,” said Thorne, who said the wild coyote scaled the fence and attacked the pug. The Thornes’ other dog came to Yancy's defense and killed the coyote.

Wildlife experts say it's not uncommon to see coyotes encroach on suburban life.

"If there's dog food or cat food in the yard, especially bird feeders, all of that stuff attracts wild animals," said Lee Walker, from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

The Thornes are heartbroken. But wildlife experts want their neighbors and other homeowners to beware, because the coyote attack came around mid-day Monday. That’s unusual because coyotes are more active at dawn or dusk.

Experts say if you see one, call animal control, and take steps to keep the furry members of your family safe.

"If the sighting is confirmed then it's a good idea to keep your pets in," said Walker.

Wildlife officials remind pet owners to make sure their pets are vaccinated against rabies. Additionally, if your pet is attacked by a wild animal, have your pet checked out by a veterinarian.