After three coyote attacks on pets in a single night, a San Dimas family spoke out about the loss of its dog, which was killed by a coyote inside the family's home, in the hopes that it will serve as a warning to other pet owners in the area.
The Vanthiel family says that it had Noah, a Yorkie, for 8 years, and it considered the pooch more like family than a pet. So, the mourning family decided to put up flyers to warn everyone in the neighborhood and prevent further heartache.
Ciara Ullo, a member of the family, says, "He brought us happiness. People don't realize, but pets are like children to us."
"Noah was my boy, we did everything together," Jeffrey Vanthiel, another member of the family mouring the dog's death, says.
The Vanthiel family made the traumatic discovery Thursday night, when it found part of Noah's remains on the floor.
"My husband walked in the room and started screaming, so we knew something horrible had happened," Naisi Vanthiel says.
The family says it regularly left a locked 5-inch gap in their sliding glass doors at the home so that their dogs could get to the backyard. They believe that gap is how the coyote got into the home.
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"There was forced hair on both sides, where that animal squeezed in through to get my little boy," Jeffrey Vanthiel says.
The family says its other dog, 10-month-old Niko, was found alone and shivering inside the home.
"What puts us at peace is that we feel like he was protecting Niko," Ullo says.
Jeffrey Vanthiel says, "[Noah] scarified himself for [Niko]."
More of Noah's remains and his collar were found on the other side of their complex, where a neighbor spotted the coyote.
That night, two other dogs were attacked in the same community, with one of the other dogs also killed.
The family veterinarian told the Vanthiels that it's "pup season" for coyotes.
"He said this is the time that they are having pups and looking for food. They need to feed their babies," Naisi Vanthiel says.
The Vanthiels reported the incident to Animal Control, but they hope the loss of their companion will be a message and a warning for other pet owners.
Ullo says, "I want his passing to just help other people and save other fur babies."
Ullo emotionally adds, "This is his purpose. We want everyone to be aware that it could happen to them because we never ever had that cross our mind."