In the span of a week, three Yorkshire terriers have been snatched by coyotes living in the hillsides of Laguna Beach, authorities said.
Blood and fur has been found, left behind after the attacks that have taken pets away from their families.
“It looked like the coyotes actually broke through a fence -- or jumped over it and knocked it over when they did it – to come after the dog,” Laguna Beach Police Capt. Jason Kravetz said.
News of the attacks comes a week after a 2-year-old girl was attacked by a coyote at Forest Lawn Mortuary in Cypress. She was bitten and the animal tried to drag her away, but the girl’s mother saved her daughter.
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Authorities shot and killed three coyotes at the cemetery.
In Laguna Beach, animal control officials say the best way to protect a pet is to keep it inside, along with food and anything else that might attract a wild animal.
The coyotes are wandering closer to homes in the coastal town, police said. Typically nocturnal, these coyotes are searching for water and food during the day and night.
“A lot of people are carrying whistles, walking canes or golf clubs as protection in case something like does happen and the animals become more aggressive,” said John Thompson, animal control officer.
If residents encounter a coyote, officials advise to treat them like mountain lions -- make yourself big and scare them away, but don't run or you may become a target.
Resident Mark Mani said he can hear the coyotes yipping at night and won’t let his children outside alone, in part because of his hiking partner saw one morning.
“On his way over to my house, he said he saw a coyote run down the middle of the street with a cat in its mouth,” Mani said. “It’s part of living up here.”