In New Jersey's White Township, late in April 2009, Colleen MacDonald was working in her garden with her ten year old chihuahua Mindy nearby.
Unexpectedly a coyote dashed out of wooded cover, snatched up Mindy, and ran off into the woods.
She took off after the coyote but there was no way to keep up with it.
She searched for an hour and a half, hoping against hope that Mindy had somehow survived.
Eventually she did encounter the coyote again, which seemed to have turned specifically to confront her. "It wasn't scared at all." It nonchallently returned to the woods.
Later still the coyote showed up as if to brag of its successful meal, standing stock-still and staring at Colleen until she was able to chase it off with a pitchfork. She has asked a local hunter to track it down and kill it. But there are an estimated 3,000 coyotes in New Jersey, and the population is increasing. Small dogs and cats will always be at risk.
Colleen is of course heartbroken. We commemorate the life of this beloved dog with these photos of Mindy.
Jersey's Division of Fish and Wildlife issued the following advice for communities where coyotes might lurk: 1) Never feed a coyote. 2) Never feed feral cats as that is providing another food source to attract coyotes; and don't feed pet cats or dogs outdoors as coyotes will be attracted to the kibble. 3) Don't have an outdoor water source in summer or hot climates.
4) Put garbage in tightly sealed containers that cannot be tipped over. 5) Bring in birdfeeders at night, as these are visited by noctoral rodents that attract coyotes. 6) Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost, as these both attract coyote prey, and coyote are sufficiently omniverous to be attracted to edible rubbish as well.
7) Make sure rabbit hutches or chicken enclosures are coyote-proof. 8) Add motion-activated lighting around the house. 9) Monitor children when they're outdoors even in familiar surroundings.
10) Clear brambles and dense brush away from places where children and pets play, as not only can coyotes wait in ambush, but rabbits and other small animals will live there, attractive coyote prey. Woodpiles can also provide coyote's with hunting ground for rodents. 11) If coyotes are near, make loud noises and toss rocks at them so they know it's not safe for them to hang out where there are people.