Around 1:00 a.m. on Friday, January 25, a pack of coyotes jumped the 3-1/2-foot fence behind a Riverside, IL, home in an apparent effort to attack the family’s three dogs, who had been let out briefly by their owner. “Out of nowhere four coyotes came from the back,” the dogs’ owner Roger Nelson said.
The coyotes chased the three dogs across the snow-covered yard, but the pets managed to get inside. Their pursuers were so aggressive that they broke the windows on the door and badly damaged the panels trying to get at the dogs, Nelson and police told the Chicago Tribune.
Police went to the home in the 0-100 block of South Herbert Road and saw the damage that had been done to the door after Roger Nelson called about the scary incident. Riverside is a suburb of Chicago, located 9 miles west of downtown Chicago and two miles outside the city limits.
Roger Nelson told WGN-TV he had just taken his three dogs outside to relieve themselves, when suddenly his ten-year-old Golden Retriever, Lexie, and 3-month old German Shepherd, Bella, darted back to the house.
Snoopy, a five-year-old Beagle/Basset Hound mix with shorter legs lagged behind but was at his maximum speed running up the stairs and into the door as Nelson held it ajar for him.
“He made it inside barely. One more step, and they would have gotten him,” Nelson said”
Nelson slammed the door behind Snoopy and stopped the four coyotes, but the animals stayed on his wooden deck and proceeded to claw at the glass door, breaking windows and then breaking the two wooden panels in their efforts to continue the attack.
Because the coyotes were so persistent, Nelson knew he had to stop them before they continued to damage the door sufficiently to gain entry.
Nelson, who is an avid hunter, grabbed a high-powered BB gun and shot two of the coyotes, stopping them from breaking into the residence and getting at the barking dogs inside, he told WGN-TV.
All four of the coyotes had left the area before police arrived. “You heard a couple of yelps and they’re nowhere to be found, Nelson said.”
"They were snarling," Nelson told ABC News. "You could see all their teeth and the hair standing up on back as they were clawing at the door."
Riverside Police Sgt. Bill Gutschick said "Twenty-five years on the job here, and this is the first time I've ever seen anything like this, with coyotes trying to get into a home chasing prey.
The boldness and persistence of the attack likely means the coyotes can’t find food, Nelson said. “This is their means of food now” he said, “They’re coming after people’s dogs.”
He plans to install a large fence to protect his yard but also said he will carry the BB gun with him when he lets his dogs out. “I hate to use that kind of force, but I’m not going to let my dogs get attacked,” Roger Nelson said.
He also said he felt it was important for other pet owners in the community to know what happened so that they can also keep their animals safe.
Riverside has had other recent reports of attacks by coyotes, including a 7-month-old "bichon-poo" puppy which was killed on Jan. 3 in the 100 block of Addison Road in Riverside, located along the Des Plaines River, according to the Chicago Tribune.
When the owner heard the screams, she ran to investigate and found the 9-pound puppy badly injured with wounds in the abdomen. The tiny dog died despite immediate veterinary treatment, police said.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said in a news release at that time, "Most importantly, use caution near any wild animal Coyotes do not know the difference between pets and the wild creatures they hunt, so try to protect pets by accompanying them outdoors.”
"We look at our dogs as they're our pets and they're part of the family and the coyotes, they look at them as prey," Sgt. Gutschick told ABC News.
ABC NEWS VIDEO: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/