WESTMINSTER - Authorities are warning pet owners to be cautious as coyote attacks are on the rise, especially in the west side of Westminster.
Experts say coyote breeding seasons lasts until around March, which can make the animals more aggressive and brazen.
Westminster police say six dogs have been attacked since Jan. 1. Five dogs were killed and the other was injured.
The issue isn't exclusive to Westminster. Pet owners in parts of Golden have had similar issues in the past.
Cristy and Mark Rusch have a Yorkie named Tucker that was viciously attacked last October when a coyote jumped their fence and entered the backyard in the middle of the night.
"I was two steps of turning back in the house. I heard coyotes yelping and screaming," Cristy Rusch explains. "It was the worse night of my life. It really was."
She was able to scare the coyote away.
"I ran out, and I just bellowed a scream, and I was hitting the stick on the side of the house," she said.
Tucker suffered serious injuries and it took months for the Yorkie to fully recover.
Many other dogs aren't so lucky.
Veterinarian David Specht has treated numerous dogs after coyote attacks. He says pet owners often forget that coyotes travel in packs and can lure dogs away from homes. He says big dogs and even dogs on leashes can be attacked.
"They will proceed to take them right off your leash. So, if you do see a coyote in the vicinity, it may be best to pick the dog up," Specht said.
In addition to making loud noises to ward off coyotes, Specht says pet owners can also buy animal scent.
"They're very sensitive to smells so you can pick up a lot of mountain lion, bobcat urinations that are concentrated and sprinkle it around the yard," he explained.
Westminster police plan on holding a meeting in February to warn the community about the spike in attacks.
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