Dog owners who live in areas frequented by coyotes tend to learn to avoid attack rather quickly through careful preventative measures or unfortunate experiences.
Those with small dogs have to be extra vigilant, as they are some of the favorite targets of their wild relatives. Kerri and Larry Ruiz of Chatsworth, California, thought they knew the drill. They’d seen coyotes in the area, so they decided to buy air horns and place them near the exits of their home, just in case they become necessary.
They were cautious not to let their small dogs out at night, as they knew coyotes hunted most at that time.
But they didn’t know that opportunistic coyotes hunt when the hunting is good, no matter the hour.
Around 11:00 a.m., in bright daylight, the coyote scrambled over their brick wall and captured their Chihuahua, Chico.
Hearing the poor dog’s frantic yelps, Kerri, Larry, and their son ran outside. But the coyote had already scaled the fence again with Chico in its jaws.
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“They took … Chico!” Kerri wailed, frantic.
As the two men tried to pursue the attacker, Kerri ran back into the house and grabbed one of the airhorns. Desperately blasting it, hoping it would startle the coyote, wherever it was.
Whether it was the air horn or the scramble or the little dog putting up more of a fight than it expected. At some point, after jumping into the adjoining neighbor’s yard, the predator dropped its prey and scampered off.
Little Chico had puncture wounds and a broken rib. But he healed up fine and is back home, enjoying supervised outside time.
The Quizzes were relieved to have their pup back. But they knew how close they were to losing their beloved pet.
They knew that the coyote was doing what coyotes do. But they thought they had taken all the proper steps to keep their dogs safe by letting them out during the day.
“We thought that they were just like nocturnal,” one owner said, according to WFLA-TV. “No. They’re not.”
A security camera captured the distressing attack, and the family has shared it to make other pet owners aware of what they didn’t know. The video is difficult to watch, but people must know their dogs are not safer just because they’re out during daylight hours.
After the harrowing ordeal, Kerri has a bit of advice for other pet lovers. “Never, ever, ever let their animals outside unattended.”