PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Urban coyotes are a growing problem, with a constant stream of sightings from the Phoenix area posted on social media.

The coyotes seem to have no problem walking down city streets, relaxing in the park, even jumping into backyards in search of food and water.

The proliferation of coyotes on city streets is making it more dangerous for small pets.

A 2-year old chihuahua mix named Bear Dog was killed at a park Friday night.

Stephanie Birkett is Bear Dog's owner.

She brought him to Jackrabbit Park, off Paradise Lane and 60th Street when, out of nowhere, a coyote sneaked over and took a bite out of Bear Dog.

[WATCH: "[W]e are actually rolling out the red carpet for coyotes"]

"He walked right up to him and just opened its mouth and crunched down on his neck twice and then let go of him," said Birkett. "That's when Bear Dog started hollering and screaming in pain."

Birkett and a neighbor chased after the coyote, hoping it would drop Bear Dog and run away.

Instead,  the coyote ran down a storm drain and disappeared, taking Bear Dog with him.

"I followed him the best I could," said neighbor Teri Chadwick. "I was screaming my head off, yelling at him, trying to scare him to drop [Bear Dog] and he didn't."

Amy Burnett of the Arizona Game and Fish Department said that urban coyotes are an issue across metro Phoenix.

"They can find plenty of food out in the desert, but we actually have better, easier food here in the urban areas," Burnett explained. "It's a situation where we are actually rolling out the red carpet for coyotes. They are coming in and taking advantage of what we have to offer."

Birkett hopes that her story will remind other owners of small pets to be extra careful and not let their small dog or cat roam free.

[MORE: Pet and animal news on azfamily.com]

"Keep the little ones on a leash; keep them close to you, and maybe avoid edges of the park," said Burkett."I just don't want anyone to experience the heartbreak I am experiencing."

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
 
 


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