Valley dog survives coyote attack

LAS VEGAS - A dog is lucky to be alive after a coyote attack. Local wildlife experts say more of these animals are roaming the valley this time of year and going into neighborhoods to target pets.

The coyote attack against the 6-year-old Yorkshire terrier named Dylan happened outside the animal’s Summerlin home in December.

"He was a split second away from being eaten, when I got there,” said Dylan’s owner Ira Urgenson. “I call him my New Year’s miracle."

Urgenson says he is holding Dylan a little closer these days.

"I thought he was a goner. Who retrieves their dog when a coyote takes off with them?" he said.

The traumatic scenario is becoming increasingly common in the valley.

"To a coyote, a cat or a dog is just another animal,” said Doug Nielsen with the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “They just see that it’s got four legs, and it looks edible. So, they will take it."

Nielsen says the early part of the year is breeding season for coyotes. That means more of these animals are roaming the valley looking for mates, and they do go into urban areas adjacent to open land.

"Right now, the chances of seeing them move about are pretty good,” Nielsen said.

He advises people to not let pets out of sight, especially in the early morning or evening when coyotes often look for food. He also advises against using retractable leashes which let pets roam too far from their owners.

"All coyotes need is a gap, just enough space,” Nielsen said. “They feel comfortable, they can grab the pet and go."

Urgenson is counting his blessings the coyote dropped Dylan before getting away that night.

"He had some superficial bite marks where he had been picked up,” he said. "I was a little lax one too many times… I am not lax anymore."

Wildlife experts say one of the worst things to do is feed wild coyotes. This will keep them coming back into your neighborhood.

Additionally, do not leave trash or extra pet food out, because that could attract coyotes.

If you encounter coyotes, do not corner them; that’s when they often attack. Experts say spraying them with water from a garden hose is a good way to keep coyotes away from your home.

With moderate temperatures, coyotes can show up any time of day.


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