Coyote attacks, kills Chihuahua being walked by owner in Orange County

Florida wildlife officials urge residents to avoid walking pets at night

ORLANDO, Fla. - A woman walking her dogs early Sunday in Orlando said a coyote attacked and killed her Chihuahua.

Cel Lincoln said she was walking her Chihuahua, Zuki, and her Pug, Henry, on Willow Park Drive in the Willow Wood subdivision when the coyote attacked and ran off with the dog, killing it. She said the attack was so sudden, she had no chance to react.

"Never heard a noise, a sound, nothing," said Lincoln, who thinks the coyote stalked her tiny dog and went in for the kill, just feet away from her. "He snatched my little Chihuahua by his mouth and took off like lightning. He was gone. It was just like that."

Now, Lincoln will only walk her other dog during the day, and she's warning other neighbors to do the same.

"That's pretty scary to think the coyote would be that bold to come up that close to a person," said Stephany Madsen.

"They either go up and down between this row of houses or behind our house in the back over here," said Jon Malone, who has seen coyotes in the neighborhood for years. "Dogs have been attacked. In one instance, down the street, a bobcat was beaten off by the woman as she was in her yard that morning."

In this case, Lincoln said the Chihuahua was not on a leash like her other dog, which may have made it an easier target. The attack was reported to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officials, and in a report, said the coyote showed "no fear." FWC officials plan to post a sign in the neighborhood warning about the coyote, hoping to prevent another attack.

"They're not challenged by people so they have no natural fear," said Malone. "I've talked to several neighbors about them being present, and to keep the children out of the woods over here."

FWC officials do not plan to take any action to trap the coyote, but the neighborhood association is talking about setting traps and state officials said that is an option.

FWC said coyotes will hone in on an area where cats are easily available and will stay in the area until the food source is gone. In the meantime, they will advantage of any other small prey, such as the dog.

FWC recommends that owners take precautions when walking pets and to avoid walking them late at night.

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