LAS VEGAS (FOX5) – Valley neighbors took steps to arm themselves after multiple dogs were attacked, one fatally, by coyotes.
Carrie Becerra’s home sits in a gated community on Eastern and Flamingo. The neighborhood has 12-foot fences and is a retirement community. It’s surrounded by busy streets but somehow, coyotes have been finding their way in. Becerra, 62, said she’s had a coyote walk the ledge of her fence more than once. One night, a coyote tried to attack her dog.
"I grabbed the shovel and started screaming and I just went after him like a pitch fork kind of attitude,” said Becerra. “He was not getting my dog."
Since the encounter, Becerra has armed herself with a shovel, screw drivers and a blow horn.
Her neighbors Hannah and Charles Bufford weren’t as lucky. Their two dogs Vader and Mimi were attacked by a coyote. Vader managed to survive the attack, but Mimi was killed.
“We found Mimi dead in our front yard,” said Hannah. “I was checking [Vader] out and he had all kinds of bites on him."
Neighbors said they’ve left multiple messages with the Nevada Department of Wildlife asking for the coyotes to be removed. They said they haven’t received any kind of response.
Without help, the neighbors have resorted to their own means of protection for their animals.
“I’ll shoot it,” said Charles who said his dogs are his only children.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife said it receives calls for coyotes frequently but it can’t respond to every call.
"We have a lot of people who want us to come in and immediately … move an animal,” said Doug Nielsen, a conservation education specialist for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “We don't have the funds or the manpower to take on that activity."
As for how these animals are making their way so far into town, Nielsen said they’re using the washes.
“If you take a look at the Las Vegas valley as what it is, it's a very large basin and it's crossed with natural washes,” said Nielsen. “Features that act as wildlife roadways."
Nielsen said the best way to get rid of a coyote is to verbally let the coyote know it’s not welcome by scaring it away.
“Don’t ignore [the coyote].”
Nielsen said coyotes often stick around a location because of people.
"They are being fed. Either on purpose or incidental," said Nielsen.
Becerra said that food source for her neighborhood is small pets belonging to her and her elderly neighbors, who can’t fight off a coyote.
"We're in the desert. Coyotes are an issue anywhere you go but it really frustrates me because we're not on the outskirts of town. We're not up against a bunch of mountains where we're right at the edge of their domain. We're in the center of town and I can't get anyone to call me back and say hey we'll look into it," she said.