I've heard a lot of coyote stories lately and over the years. Here in Southern California we have coyotes, many coyotes. It is common knowledge that the cats that go "missing" are not simply missing. It amazes me that so many have outdoor cats in a place where outdoor cats become midnight snacks. But it is not only cats that lose their life to coyotes, dogs do as well. I've heard of many small dogs being taken out of their backyard, never to be seen again. Very sad.
Through the years I've heard story after story of single coyotes and coyote packs taking dogs. One story was about a Jack Russell on an extension leash that the owner saved only because of the leash. A coyote grabbed to dog as it crested a hill; the owner tugged and tugged, the coyote finally released the dog. He was rushed to the ER and stitched up, lucky. The largest dog that I personally know of was a Brittany Spaniel, a big dog for a coyote.
Just this morning when Luke and my husband were out on a walk; several people warned my husband about a coyote up on the hill. It was up on the hill where they were headed and as they had been warned, there it was. It was a young coyote, mangy looking and bold, too bold. It hid behind some bushes in ambush position. Seeing this my husband made a quick U-turn and head back. Even though a young coyote is not a threat to Luke, you never know what their posse looks like or if they are learning to hunt.
They coyotes here are small; probably a bit smaller than Tilley. But they are very dangerous and extremely experienced killers. Any animal that eats cats has got to get the job done quickly before becoming injured themselves. Often when I am at the park I see the remnants of the nights hunt. Tufts of hair, bones and other pieces strewn around drawing the crows to feed on the less than prime morsels.
Today I was out getting a new ID tag for Jessie; I also picked up a cat bell for her collar. With her hearing gone I like to know where she is and because she cannot hear me calling her at least I can hear her if she is moving around. As I was in the kitchen working on their dinner I heard her jingle into the family room when I stopped chopping and thought, "she sounds like a cat." I've never seen a coyote in my yard but I have seen them several streets over and I do not want them thinking that we have a cat in our yard. Nor do I want them thinking that Jessie is a cat. So the cat bell will be tossed and we continue to be vigilant; no dogs out at night and the dog door shut tight.