LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Neighbors across Henderson are on alert for coyotes lurking in backyards after surveillance shows two separate close encounters with dogs and an attack on a chihuahua.

The attack occurred last week in a neighborhood off U.S. 95 and College Drive. Surveillance shows the coyote creeping into a yard. Two small dogs are seen on video confronting the coyote, but after the coyote ran up the fence, it hopped back into the yard to lunge at the chihuahua.

The dog ended up at the veterinarian with some injuries and is recovering and healing well.

Days before, in a neighborhood in the Seven Hills area in Henderson, another set of surveillance videos show two large coyotes lingering in a backyard for a whole hour with two dogs. The coyotes, in response, showed no interest in any confrontation, despite the dogs’ barks and pleas for contact.

The homeowner suspects that the coyotes entered the backyard, but had trouble getting out.

FOX5 asked the Nevada Department of Wildlife: What are the risks of these encounters in your own backyard? Doug Nielsen with NDOW tells FOX5 that coyotes generally prefer to avoid confrontations, especially with big dogs, but can be provoked and act aggressively in a territorial display. Small dogs are far more vulnerable to coyotes.

“Not all interactions between a domestic dog and a coyote ends in the pet being attacked or eaten, although that does sometimes occur,” Nielsen said. “The coyote is a predatory species. They’re also very territorial, and they’ll protect that territory. Some coyote interactions are driven by the coyote protecting their territory: they just see them as another canine threat,” he said.

Coyotes are attracted to yards across Las Vegas for a simple reason: they’re a nice place, offering shade, water and sometimes food.

“We make them very comfortable. We make shade, we add water a lot of times, we sometimes have gardens, sometimes we have fruit trees,” Nielsen said.

Coyotes are also attracted to pet food and feces in backyards, he said.

Should pet owners leave their dogs outside unattended? Nielsen said there are risks, especially for smaller dogs.

“Obviously, a much larger dog, the chance of it having a bad interaction with the coyote is less. The smaller your dog is, the better chance you’re going to have a coyote that might attempt to pick it up and carry it away,” he said.

From dusk to dawn, coyotes naturally venture out and become active. There is a greater chance of an encounter with dogs during that timeframe if they are outside in backyards.

Nielsen said any cat owner that allows their pet to wander the neighborhood leaves their feline vulnerable to coyote attacks.


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