A San Francisco couple is mourning the loss of their dog after it was snatched from their porch as both of them watched.
Their 13-year-old shih tzu, Bella, was found dead in a nearby alley, according to CBS San Francisco.
The attack happened at about 4 a.m. Sunday after the owners took Bella and their other dog, a puppy, out for a bathroom break near their residence in Balboa Terrace. As they were getting the keys to enter the house, the coyote ran up the front steps, grabbed Bella and scampered off, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Animal control officers are monitoring the neighborhood at dusk and dawn, when coyotes are most active, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
San Francisco is home to anywhere between 50 to 100 coyotes. At least one dog was killed last year, according to freelance writer Katherine Seligman.
“It’s heartbreaking. It’s awful,” Deb Campbell, the spokeswoman for San Francisco Animal Care and Control, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Our agency feels horrible when something like this happens. We don’t want this to happen to anyone else, so we need people to be vigilant.”
The coyote is believed to have come from nearby Stern Grove. The attack is still being investigated, according to CBS San Francisco.
“For a coyote to come up on a porch is definitely not a good thing,” Virginia Donohue, the Executive Director SF Animal Care and Control, told CBS San Francisco.
Coyotes sightings have been reported in Golden Gate Park, Glen Park, Bernal Heights, St. Francis Wood, Lake Merced and on the Olympic Club golf course, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Coyotes have an important ecological role by limiting populations of skunks, raccoons and foxes, which increases bird diversity. They also help keep the rodent and rabbit populations in check, according to Project Coyote.