Dog killed by coyote in Fairfax County

- A small dog was killed after being attacked by a coyote during the middle of the day in Fairfax County.

The dog’s owner said her 5-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named Loki was playing fetch earlier this month when the ball crossed their fence and went into a wooded area behind her home on Yellowstone Drive in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County.

After Loki’s owner spotted the coyote, her pet and the wild animal ended up disappearing into the brush before the dog was fatally attacked.

“It was daylight. I'm present. My dog was not unattended. That is the part that is most shocking – that it is daylight,” said Loki’s owner. “It wasn't intimidated by me or the dog. But I have seen them here periodically. You hear a pack of them howling over there. There is a group of them … Do not leave your cat, your dog, anything outside for a split second, even if you are living here.”

“Dogs are vulnerable to coyote confrontations, especially when unattended,” Fairfax County police said in a news release. “Conflicts between dogs and coyotes can happen year-round but are more likely during coyote mating season (January-March) and when coyotes are caring for their young (March-August). Unprovoked conflicts between humans and coyotes are extremely rare. Coyotes are an established part of the local wildlife community in Fairfax County and the mere presence of coyotes should not alarm you.”

Police said their Animal Services Division is monitoring the coyote activity in the area by conducting area searches and using game cameras.

Fairfax County police have some tips to help prevent the likelihood of a confrontation with a coyote:

- Never feed a coyote
- Securely cover your trash bins and compost piles
- Do not feed pets outside or store pet food outside
- Do not leave your pet unattended, even in a fenced yard
- Keep cats indoors
- Pick up ripe, fallen fruit and do not let it accumulate on the ground
- Keep dogs on short leashes (less than 6 feet) while walking outside
- Install motion sensor lights or a motion activated sprinkler around your home

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