BAY ST LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Some Bay St. Louis residents say their neighborhood has come under attack by a pack of coyotes. They say the ferocious animals have killed at least one pet in the Shoreline Park area and nearly killed another in the past few weeks.
One of the grieving pet owners is now warning the neighborhood to keep a close eye on their children and pets.
For Jennie Spencer, her four pet dogs are like her children. She's still heartbroken over the loss of her two-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, Tydie.
"It's very painful after the fact, and I want our neighbors to not go through the pain and the loss that we went through," Spencer said.
About a week ago, a large coyote knocked over the cinder blocks at the end of Spencer's fence. She said the animal came into her yard and attacked her dog. Her husband went outside after hearing their dog wailing.
"I heard him just scream and say, 'Oh no, oh no,' and he came back and his white shirt was just blood covered. We brought her in and she died."
A few days later, and just a few streets over, coyotes attacked another small dog.
"My son-in-law heard the Chihuahua squeal outside," Willie LePine said. "When he got outside, he saw the coyote carrying his little dog off."
LePine said his son-in-law chased the coyote until he dropped the dog. The Chihuahua was hurt, but survived the attack.
LePine said the coyote returned to his property a few hours later, but this time he was ready and waiting.
"When he came back, I shot him."
LePine said the 65-pound coyote had fangs an inch and a half long.
The animal control officer said there have been 15 pets killed or attacked in the city within the past three months.
Meanwhile, the Spencers have put up a sign in the neighborhood warning residents to be careful. It reads: "Beware! Coyote Killed My Yorkie Friday. Protect Small Children and Pets."
"I love animals, but animals need to be where they are supposed to be. And you can't have coyotes in the city limits and subdivisions," Jennie Spencer said.
The city animal control officer believes abandoned homes and overgrown lots left after Hurricane Katrina are havens for small animals, which in turn are an excellent food source for the predators. He believes that's what is attracting the coyotes.
The Spencers say they now keep a rifle by the back door. They've also brought a new dog home, a Doberman Pincher, with the hope of deterring any future attacks.
Anyone who happens to spot a coyote or any other dangerous animal is asked to contact the Bay St. Louis Police Department at (228) 467-9222.