By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — A warning for pet owners: coyotes are on the loose in the northwest suburbs, and one woman found out the hard and painful way.

A pack of coyotes snatched her dog less than 50 feet from her door.

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People living in several subdivisions in Palatine say, despite the cold, coyotes are out and attacking pets. A controlled burn in these woods could be sending the coyotes out of their natural homes.

A woman in the Parkside subdivision was walking her small dog Thursday morning when three coyotes attacked, ripping the dog out of its collar and dragging it into the woods.

Her neighbor saw the whole thing.

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“Unfortunately the leash and the collar she had on him slipped off of her head, and that was the end of it,” Paul Willmann said.

The woman later found the dog dead.

Police say there’s not much they can do, because coyotes have certain protections, but they said the best way to keep your pets safe is to carry an air horn or some kind of spray, like mace, to keep coyotes away.

Don’t turn your back on coyotes or run away, and don’t leave your pets unattended.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff