New London police are warning residents to be on alert after a coyote attacked and killed a dog Saturday morning, not long after residents voiced concerns about other reported coyote attacks on dogs at a meeting in April.
Police said around 11:40 a.m. they were called to 19 Harbor Lane for a coyote attack.
Resident Jacqueline Taitague told NBC Connecticut she let her dog named Poochie outside of their home on Harbor Lane to go to the bathroom.
“She’s just like one of my kids. Literally the love we have for her, it’s huge,” Taitague said.
But then two-year-old Bichon disappeared.
After a desperate search, Taitague’s daughter spotted the dog down the street.
“She says, ‘Mom look there’s a coyote right on top of her’ and the coyote had the dog. And the coyote was right on top of the dog,” Taitague said.
Family members rushed to help.
“I took a rod and chased. And then she, the coyote scattered away,” Miguel Morales of New London, said.
Sadly it was too late and Poochie passed away.
Rob Taitague said they'd heard previous coyote warnings but didn't expect the animals to be an issue during the day.
“We’ve never seen any. So it was the daytime so we just did the normal routine. We just felt comfortable, safe, never thought it could happen,” he said.
Now the Taitagues worry the same thing could happen to someone else.
Authorities searched for the coyote but did not find the animal or a den.
New London was already on edge from other reported coyote attacks in April, and a wildlife biologist from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection recently spoke to residents about their concerns.
Police said they are "evaluating and exploring all available options” to deal with the coyote issue.
In the meantime, residents should take precautions. Police and wildlife experts recommend the following:
- Do not allow pets to run free! Keep cats indoors, particularly at night, and small dogs on a leash or under close supervision at all times.
- Always walk dogs on a leash. If approached by a coyote while walking your dog, keep the dog under control and calmly leave the area. Do not run or turn your back.
- Never feed coyotes! Do not place food out for any mammals. Clean up bird seed below feeders, pet foods, and fallen fruit. Secure garbage and compost in animal proof containers.
- Teach children to recognize coyotes and to go inside the house (do not run) or climb up on a swing or deck and yell if they are approached.
- Close off crawl spaces under porches and sheds that coyotes or other animals may use.
- Educate your neighbors. Ask them to follow these same steps.