Woman says family dog was attacked, killed by coyote in subdivision

MASON, OH (FOX19) - It's no secret there have been coyote sightings in the greater Cincinnati area, but now a devastated Mason family is warning neighbors about the animal after their dog was likely killed by a coyote.

The Miller family said that Spot was a big part of their lives for years. The eight-year-old Sheltie was a cuddly companion who made bad days feel bright.

"She's loveable. I mean she wouldn't hurt a flea," Dawn Miller, one of Spot's owners, said. "Gets along with the other dogs, gets along with the neighbors."

Spot was a bit stubborn though, so it was not unusual for her to linger in their Mason backyard on Thornberry Court a little too long.

When Dawn could not get Spot to come inside a few days ago, she said she brought the other two pups in and then left for a short time to pick up her husband from work.

A little bit later, the couple got home and started calling for Spot to come inside, but she wasn't coming. They started searching their fenced backyard and made an awful discovery.

"It was pretty graphic," Dawn said. 

Spot was dead. Dawn said she had been attacked in broad daylight.

"It was pretty gruesome, and all I could think of was what must have been going through her head when this was going on," Dawn said.

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Dawn said she immediately called authorities who sent the dog warden to their home to check it out. She said they also took Spot's body to the vet to try to get some answers.

Both, Dawn said, came to the same consensus - a coyote was probably the culprit.

People have seen the animals lurking around the neighborhood for months. Another person reported that their pet was killed by a coyote in December 2016.

"Obviously they'll attack at any time and for no reason," Dawn said.

One neighbor wrote a letter to city officials after Spot died, making them aware of the incident and asking for help.

A city leader replied, saying they do not have a lot of answers, but encourage people to call police or trappers. You can see both letters in the video attached to this article.

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The Millers thought having a fence would keep their dogs safe. They know nothing they say or do will bring Spot back, but they believe telling people about the dog's death could save other canines lives.

"Spot wasn't a danger to anybody and yet it took her life in a really brutal way," Dawn said. "You have to watch your animals. You have to be diligent."

An ODNR wildlife specialist said that Spot was similar in size to a coyote's typical game.

She also stated that coyotes can get inside fenced areas, and there are sometimes conflicts between domestic dogs and coyotes when habitats overlap.

Her suggestion is to keep an eye on your pets and use leashes and fences as extra protection.

You can read more about coyotes here.

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