Virginia Highland residents say coyotes to blame for disappearing pets

by: Diana Davis Updated:

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ATLANTA - Some residents in northeast Atlanta believe a pack of coyotes is attacking and killing pets. At least eight dogs and cats have been reported missing.

It's the talk of the neighborhood along San Antonio Drive in the Virginia Highland neighborhood.

Residents told Channel 2's Diana Davis they have spotted at least four coyotes and think there may be more.

They said the coyote den is in the woods behind a vacant lot on Kings Court.

Jocelyn Challas told Davis at least two coyotes came into her back yard.

"We have three daughters and I haven't let them play there since we've seen the coyotes. They did not run away, they stood boldly where they were and they were definitely acting like we were on their turf, barking loudly at us too," Challas said.

She said she's so scared she's keeping her 9-year-old daughter Chloe inside.

"I can't go because there are lots of wild animals and we didn't know that before," Chloe said.

Carol Muelle told Davis one of her two her miniature dachshunds disappeared from the back yard when a neighbor let them out for just a few minutes.

"Zach came in. Max was nowhere to be found," Muelle said.

She hopes Max just ran and hid and will turn up, but what her neighbor found has her worried.

"I went to his back yard and there's a puddle of blood. I fear he has taken my puppy. He's 9 months," Muelle said.

Residents said the coyotes turned up just a few months ago. Some of the neighbors believe they may have lost their natural habitat when an area near Monroe Road and Piedmont Avenue was cleared for an expansion of Piedmont Park.

"It would be nice to see animal services to come down through here but apparently they don't do. I'm not sure how they operate," resident Jim Withers told Davis.

Neighbors said they hear the coyotes howl all night and even see them in the middle of the day.

"I mean it's your classic coyote. I Googled it to make sure that was what I was seeing," said Maggie Meador.

State wildlife experts said every county in Georgia has coyotes, too many to count.

They advise to keep your pets indoors or on leash. If they must be put outdoors they suggest residents put up a fence. They're not foolproof but can discourage coyotes.