PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Dog owners are on alert in a north Phoenix neighborhood after a small dog was attacked and killed in a backyard early Tuesday morning. The dog owner believes a coyote is to blame. The dog that died was a Shih Tzu mix named Bongo.
Bongo's owner Julia McCarthy said that Bongo and her other dog Charlie had gone outside when a coyote jumped the back wall and attacked.
"They woke me up really hysterically barking around 1:30," said McCarthy. "I actually came up with a flashlight looking because they were so out of control."
Charlie had an assortment of cuts and bite marks and was bleeding badly. Bongo's injuries were even worse.
The proliferation of coyotes on city streets is making it more dangerous for small pets.
"It wasn't until early this morning that I saw my other dog dead back there, half-eaten, that I realized it had to be a coyote," said McCarthy. "It had to be."
Coyotes have been an ongoing problem in and around 56th Street and Greenway Road in Phoenix and parts of north Scottsdale.
There have been a number of coyote attacks targetting small dogs.
Last fall, someone took a video showing a coyote running down the street with a dog in its mouth. Amazingly, that dog survived.
Since September, six dogs and one cat have been attacked and killed by coyotes.
Amy Burnett is with Arizona Game and Fish Department. She said that urban coyotes are part of our community and it's up to homeowners to take the necessary precautions to protect their pets.
"Those coyotes - they are looking for easy prey - and a small dog or cat - that's easy prey for them," said Burnett. "If the risk is low, they're going to continue that."
McCarthy is already planning to close off her doggy door and will stay with her other dogs when they're out back.
"People were telling me about them jumping fences," said McCarthy. "I just never thought it would happen here. I really didn't."
It's also a good idea to make sure your dog is on a leash when out of the house, said Burnett.