Wauwatosa woman's dog is dead following coyote attack

A 2013 file photo of a coyote spotted in Wauwatosa.

A 2013 file photo of a coyote spotted in Wauwatosa.

Sept. 10, 2015

Wauwatosa police are investigating an incident that left a Dachshund dead in the early morning hours of Thursday, Sept. 10.

Around 6:40 a.m., a woman was jogging along Underwood Parkway in Wauwatosa when her dog was attacked by a coyote. The dog had just been taken off a leash, according to police.

"She said, 'Come on, let's go,'" said Lt. Brian Zalewski of the department. The woman and the dog began to run side-by-side.

At some point, a coyote emerged from the woods.

"Seconds later, she heard the dog screech or cry out," he said. "A coyote had bit the dog and had it in its mouth."

Zalewski said the woman screamed and waved her arms. The dog eventually got loose from the coyote's mouth. The woman picked up her pet and ran along the parkway to a nearby house where she sought help.

But the coyote continued to follow her, police said.

"The coyote did not have a concern for the human interaction," Zalewskis aid. "Typically, coyotes are able to be scared away by humans."

Later on, two more coyotes emerged from the woods, but a police officer called to the scene was able to scare all three away.

The woman took her dog to an animal hospital, where the dog was eventually put down. The pet "suffered substantial injuries" from bite wounds, Zalewski said.

"The dog owner did whatever she could and did everything in her power to get the dog free," he said. "She did what she had to do."

Police are working with the Department of Natural Resources to develop a plan in order to remove coyotes from the area in hopes of deterring the wild animals from potentially attacking humans, Zalewski said.

Dianne Robinson, a wildlife biologist with the DNR, said a coyote attack on a pet is "pretty unusual," but does happen. 

"It's a food source," Robinson said about small animals. "A small dog is about the same size as a rabbit or squirrel." 

Robinson said she's involved in discussions with police about possible solutions in preventing future coyote attacks. Education about scare tactics, such as making loud noises and yelling in an attempt to make coyotes leave an area are one option. Lethal tactics such as trapping or sharp shooting are another, she said. 

"In Wauwatosa, we'd rather see use of trapping if we wanted to go (with) the lethal option," she said. 

Most of the time, humans and coyotes are able to coexist, but when the animals become aggressive, the situation should be reassessed, she said. 

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