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Coyote attack suspected in killing of family dog that was in fenced yard

Posted at 8:33 PM, Dec 20, 2021

SOUTHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — David Fishman thought his small, 8-year-old dog was safe in their fenced yard in Franklin, a village in Southfield Township. But on Dec. 15 a few minutes after his wife let the Yorkshire Pomeranian mix outside to potty, Fishman couldn't find him.

They quickly put their coats on to go outside and search for Nixon but quickly realized the gates to the fence were still latched.

Fishman said he contacted their local police department and began to search for Nixon. And near the line of trees, not far from the fenced yard, they found Nixon's remains.

"It was terrible," he told 7 Action News. "They tore him apart."

Fishman is now on a mission to help warn others.

"You need to, right now, be very vigilant. When you let your dog out, you need him on a leash, or close by, preferably on a leash," Fishman said.

In Wyandotte, a woman recently captured pictures and video of a coyote walking around during daylight hours.

The woman is also warning others with small pets to be very careful because the coyote appears to be very active in the area.

Rachel Leightner, wildlife outreach coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources, says coyotes are in every county in Michigan and people can expect to begin seeing more of them as January, the start of their mating season, approaches and coyotes are out looking for a mate and a den site.

"It just might be that they're moving around a little bit more during times that are usually unusual. So in the middle of the day or just not in the nighttime hours," Leightner said.

Fishman said he reached out to the DNR and was told that they cannot trap and relocate coyotes because of potential disease they may be carrying that could spread.

Leightner confirmed that is the primary reason they don't relocate coyotes.

If a coyote is threatening someone on their property, doing damage to their property or about to do damage, the coyote can be "taken" (killed) by that property owner, or someone they designate, without a hunting license, according to Leightner, adding that local firearm restrictions still apply.

With a hunting license, Leightner said coyotes can be hunted and trapped on public property or private property with permission from the property owner. All must be done in accordance with local firearm laws.

Leightner said the DNR can also permit nuisance wildlife professionals to come out, trap and remove the animal from your property. The DNR provides more information and resources online concerning nuisance wildlife.

You can also visit the DNR's website to find a wildlife biologist in your area if there has been an attack on a pet, so they can investigate and track incidents.

Leightner said to help keep coyotes away from homes, look for sources of food around your home and remove them.

Simply feeding Michigan's beautiful birds can also attract coyotes, indirectly. Small animals, such as squirrels, look to eat the food that birds drop below the feeders. And to coyotes, those small animals are a food source. When coyotes return to that location as a source of food, a small pet is also seen as prey.

If you feel threatened by a coyote, wildlife experts say to make a lot of noise and put your hands in the air to appear larger to scare the coyote off.