Updated: 11/22/10 4:20 p.m.
WHEATON, Ill. (CBS) – Jennifer Januga says her little Shih Tzu was only outside for 20 minutes. But she says it was enough time for a coyote to attack and her kill her dog, Willie. CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports now other suburban dog owners are being warned.
Januga had just returned home from a business trip, and her husband was caring for their sick daughter when he let their little dog, Willie, out into the backyard.
“We were looking for the dog and we went into the neighbor’s yard and found him,” Januga said.
Willie had been killed by a coyote. The Shih Tzu had been outside for less than 20 minutes.
“It was devastating to have your dog mutilated by a coyote,” said Januga. “It’s very terrible.”
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Januga and her neighbors say coyotes are no strangers in their section of Wheaton.
“The coyote in this neighborhood runs up and down the block likes it’s a domestic dog,” said Januga.
Tina Ettinger stays close to her dog Coco.
“As a pet owner, you just can’t let them out, even if you have a fenced-in yard,” said Ettinger. “The coyotes are everywhere.”
Wheaton police have a list of recommendations for residents. Among them, don’t leave food out for small animals.
“When you feed small animals, such as chipmunks or squirrels, they are in the coyotes’ food chain, and a coyote will frequent that area to look for those animals,” said Deputy Chief Tom Meloni.
Meloni also suggests blowing a whistle or making other loud noises to scare off coyotes. There have been no reports of coyotes attacking people in Wheaton.
Still, Ettinger won’t let her young children play outside alone.
“I look around before I have them out here,” she said.
Januga, heartbroken over the death of Willie, has a warning for other pet owners.
“If you have a small dog, keep it on a leash for sure,” Januga said. “Walk your dog or be out with your dog at all times.”
Januga said a day after her dog was killed, she spotted a coyote in her backyard.
Wheaton police said they’re getting at least 60 calls and e-mails a month describing coyote sightings, about the same as other years.
The town has what it calls a “coyote policy.” To read it, click here.
Anyone witnessing aggressive behavior on the part of any wild animal is asked to call 911.