MENTOR, Ohio– Harley was a 10-year-old miniature Schnauzer, who was loved by his family in Mentor.
Late Wednesday morning, the dog went into the backyard as usual and was only a few feet from the back deck when a coyote ran out of the woods. It attacked and killed Harley.
It’s the second coyote attack in the Green Valley Drive area of Mentor in about a week, as the animals have become bolder.
Other dog owners said, even before this recent attack, it’s always something in the back of their minds.
“Now, it’s becoming more common to see them. I live in Painesville Township. There’s a nursery behind me and I see them in the nursery every now and then. And it depends on where the deer are traveling and where the game is,” Bill Smith said. He said he’s also spotted the animals by the railroad tracks near the Mentor Dog Park.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said coyotes are very active from January to March because it’s breeding season. They may also be aggressive this time of year because it’s more difficult to find food.
The Lake County Humane Society has been keeping tabs on reported attacks. Executive director Lee Nesler said small and mid-sized dogs can become targets.
“A lot of times the rabbits, the mice, these small woodland forest animals that are their prey all summer, spring and fall, but in the winter that’s when things get to difficult and they look for easy targets,” Nesler said.
Nesler also said the best defense for your dog starts with you. Make sure you keep your pet on a leash when outside and go out with your dog, even in your own backyard. Bring a bell or air horn when walking your dog in the early morning or late evening.
“What I’m hearing is I have a friend who has two dobermans. And her dobermans were in a standoff with coyotes, and what she did was rang a bell and clapped and make a noise so the coyotes ran off. We’re sharing territories and at certain times it can be a problem,” Nesler said.
You should also removed any source of food on your property.
The Mentor Police Department said it is aware of the attack, and also recommended residents get rid of areas that make ideal bedding, like brush piles.
“It’s important to recognize that coyotes are not the only common predators which exist in urban communities. Foxes, raccoons, hawks, owls, and other dogs are some of the animals that can attack small pets if the opportunity arises,” the department said.