Residents worry about coyotes killing pets

GALVESTON, Texas - A Galveston woman said a coyote attacked and killed her small dog near her suburban home.

For 14 years, a Chihuahua named Nick has been Kristen Carlson's constant companion. In her Colony Park neighborhood, she said she allowed herself to be lulled into a false sense of security, until the dog went missing.

Carlson said she and her husband let the dog out the front door for a bathroom break around 9 p.m. When they called the dog to come back inside, he had vanished.

After searching for a full day, even putting up fliers, Carlson said something inside her told her to go to the field by Weis Middle School at the end of her block. There, she said she found her beloved dog dead and almost unrecognizable. She said she saw drag marks on the ground and remembered hearing of coyotes roaming her neighborhood. 

Carlson said a neighbor across the street found her cat dead in her yard, and the same happened to a neighbor down the street a month earlier.

Carlson said she blames herself for not staying outside with Nick. 

"I felt really guilty for letting him down," she said. "It's really hard and we miss him a lot."  

She said she also wishes the city of Galveston would do more to curb the coyote population.

Galveston's police chief Henry Porretto said the city does have a problem with coyote dens in several parts of town. But with only one animal control officer, after the second resigned, Porretto said it has been a challenge. "We have several traps out, several other methods we're using to try to eradicate the problem," Porretto said. "We've addressed those as good as we can under the circumstances we're in."

He said the city has now posted the job listing for a second animal control officer and hoped to fill the position within the next two weeks.

Porretto urged all residents to report any coyote sightings to police. He also said residents should not try to catch or kill the coyotes themselves.

Carlson said from now on, she is not taking any chances, and is watching her remaining pet closely.

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