Coyote snatches small dog near Lake Merced, police say

- A coyote reportedly snatched a small dog near Lake Merced on Wednesday, according to the San Francisco Police Department.

Officer Robert Rueca said the incident happened around 9:00 a.m. near Lake Merced Blvd. and Sunset Blvd. The owner had just parked and let her two dogs out of the car. As the dogs neared a walking trail, a coyote ran up to one of the dogs, a white Maltese, and took it away.

“The owner described her dog as being about 10 pounds and she described the coyote to be about 50-60 pounds; the size of German Shepherd,” Rueca said.

The Maltese was not on a leash and was last seen being taken by the coyote into bushes.

San Francisco Animal Care and Control has never had a coyote/dog incident in the city where a dog was on a leash. All incidents have been with small dogs there were off leash in on leash areas.

A spokeswoman with Project Coyote said coyotes are common in San Francisco. Unattended and unsupervised cats and dogs may become prey, which is why it is best to keep dogs on a leash at all time.

According to Project Coyote, the national non-profit organization is based in Northern California. It is a North American coalition of scientists, educators, ranchers and citizen leaders promoting compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science and advocacy.

The organization works to change laws and policies to protect native carnivores from abuse and mismanagement, advocating coexistence instead of killing. They also seek to change negative attitudes toward coyotes, wolves and other misunderstood predators by replacing ignorance and fear with understanding, respect and appreciation.

“It’s unfortunate that a small dog was taken away, but we want owners to know it’s important to keep dogs under control, especially in areas where there might be coyotes or other wild animals,” Rueca added.

If you are approached by a coyote in a park or neighborhood, do not turn and run. Instead, stand your ground and try to scare the animal away by being loud, waving your arms, or jumping up and down.

Additional resources regarding coyotes can be found here

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