Dog killed by coyote in Somersett backyard

Reported by: Ashley Cullins
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Updated: 5/22/2013 5:27 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- It's not uncommon to see coyotes near populated areas this time of the year, but residents of the Somersett neighborhood in northwest Reno say the problem is getting worse.

Cissie Popson's 3-year-old Yorkie Poo Harley was killed by a coyote last Tuesday just before 5 a.m.

"You knew something was terribly wrong," Popson said. "I mean it was that sound like if you step on their paw. That scream."

It all happened in her own back yard, just feet from her bedroom.

Popsen and her husband heard the noise and ran outside, but it was too late.

"I was there with her rubbing her head when she died, but it happened very very quickly," Popson said. "She was in shock."

Popson said they think the coyote got in by jumping a four-foot fence covered in chicken wire.

"They're definitely more aggressive," Popson said. 

Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy said the drought is causing the coyotes to look for new sources of food.

"They're rearing their pups and part of that rearing process is feeding those pups," Healy said.

Healy said unattended pets are easy prey.

"The coyotes are not looking to harrass humans, but they are looking at humans as a source of food, whether it be dog food left on a porch, whether it be a small dog alone in a back yard," Healy said.

That is what happened to Harley. Healy said the threat won't end any time soon and people should keep a close eye on pets.

"This kind of thing can continue all the way through late October and into early November," Healy said.

Popson hopes her family's loss will make neighbors more careful.

"I'm not trying to blow this out of proportion," Popson said. "I feel safe. I feel safe in my neighborhood, but I don't feel as safe for my animals
or for small children."

If your pet was attacked by a coyote, or if you've seen one stalking your pet, the department of wildlife wants you to report it. The more documented reports they get, the more likely it is that they will be able to find a solution.

You can call the Nevada Department of Wildlife dispatch at 775-688-1331 or USDA Wildlife Services at 775-821-4848.
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8 Comment(s)
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Bubbles - 5/26/2013 3:01 PM
0 Votes
Yet one more example of a dog paying the price for an idiot owner. The solution to the "problem" is don't move into coyote teritory then expect them to move out just because you moved in. Or how about keeping your small dogs in an enclosed run. Or better yet don't have any pets or children bcause you don't seem to be responsible enough to have either.

RenoMarNV1 - 5/26/2013 9:20 AM
0 Votes
I also live in the Somersett community. I have heard packs of coyotes at night and have seen them in late afternoon. Their is 1 baby coyote that frequently runs through past my backyard often, only to learn my neighbor is a dog lover and feeds this coyote often. All I kept thinking was the mother coyote isn't far behind. I have a medium-sized (48 lbs.) dog and she is never left unattended after dusk.

tikidianne - 5/26/2013 8:08 AM
0 Votes
So sorry for the loss of the little dog. However, clearly a 4-foot fence is not high enough to keep other animals out. That small of a dog should never live outdoors except under supervision. It's a wonder a hawk or owl hadn't made off with the poor thing beforehand. Please keep small pets indoors, including cats, as they are prey for 4-legged and winged predators in our area. And also have a sturdy, 6-foot high fence to keep out predators and/or other dogs!

Christy - 5/26/2013 4:25 AM
0 Votes
Hum why was your dog out so late ... I never let my dogs out ... I know the safety of them I see coyotes daily where I live ... Please bring your pets in at night

norby - 5/25/2013 12:19 PM
0 Votes
lol. Name something that "anti gun liberals" have gotten their way over, nubgnngs. There's virtually no gun you can't own in this state. How that relates to Coyotes is also a mystery. You can go shoot them if that gets you off. Are you upset that you're not allowed to shoot in crowded neighborhoods??

Tiffany - 5/22/2013 8:51 PM
0 Votes
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. We live in Somersett and hear the coyotes howling at night all of the time. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope other residents will heed your warning.

kdavis52 - 5/22/2013 8:06 PM
2 Votes
So...the coyotes are the bad creatures when we encroach on their stomping grounds?

nubgnngs42 - 5/22/2013 5:53 PM
0 Votes
Well maybe if the anti gun liberals didn't get their way all the time people would be able to thin the coyote herd out a little.
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