Dog owners who live in areas frequented by coyotes tend to learn how to avoid attacks rather quickly — either through careful preventative measures or through unfortunate experiences.
Those with small dogs have to be extra vigilant, as they are some of the favorite targets of their wild relatives.
Kerri and Larry Ruiz of Chatsworth, California, thought they knew the drill. They’d seen coyotes in the area, which is why they decided to buy air horns and place them near the exits of their home, just in case they became necessary.
They were extremely careful not to let their small dogs out at night, as they knew coyotes hunted most at that time.
But what they didn’t know is that opportunistic coyotes hunt when the hunting is good, no matter the hour.
It was around 11:00 a.m., in bright daylight, when the coyote scrambled over their brick wall and nabbed their Chihuahua, Chico.
Hearing the poor dog’s frantic yelps, Kerri, Larry and their son ran outside, but the coyote had already scaled the fence again, this time with Chico in its jaws.
“They took … Chico!” Kerri wailed, frantic.
As the two men tried to pursue the attacker, Kerri ran back into the house and grabbed one of the airhorns, desperately blasting it in the hopes that it would startle the coyote, wherever it was.
Whether it was the airhorn or the scramble or the little dog putting up more of a fight than it expected, at some point after jumping into the adjoining neighbor’s yard, the predator dropped its prey and scampered off.
Little Chico had some puncture wounds and a broken rib, but he healed up just fine and is back home now, enjoying very supervised outside time.
The Ruizes were relieved to have their pup back, but they’re well aware of just how close they were to losing their beloved pet.
They know that the coyote was just doing what coyotes do, but they thought they had taken all the right steps to keep their dogs safe by letting them out during the day.
“We thought that they were just like nocturnal,” one owner said, according to WFLA-TV. “No. They’re not.”
A security camera captured the distressing attack, and the family has shared it to make other pet owners aware of what they didn’t know. The video is difficult to watch, but it’s important that people know their dogs are not safer just because they’re out during daylight hours.
After the harrowing ordeal, Kerri has a bit of advice for other pet lovers: “Never, ever, ever let their animals outside unattended.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.