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Dog disappears after coyote attack in southeast Calgary

WATCH: Karley Charland said her four-year-old chihuahua mix was dragged into the bushes by a coyote near Valleyview Park in Calgary on Monday night. Michael King reports.

A coyote attack in southeast Calgary on Monday night ended with a small dog been carried off and presumably killed.

Karley Charland said she was walking her four-year-old chihuahua mix near Valleyview Park when her dog was attacked by a coyote.

“I just heard her squeal,” said Charland on Tuesday. “I turned around and saw a [dog-like] figure running through the grass, straight down the cliff, never to be seen again.”

Charland said the coyote had been following them before the attack and she had tried to scare the animal off.

“I turned on the flashlight on my phone,” Charland said. “I was looking down the cliff, seeing if I could see her. I couldn’t hear anything.”

READ MORE: Calgary father concerned by 9 coyotes denning in his backyard

Charland said she hasn’t been able to find any sign of her dog and assumes she was killed.

She said her family is still processing the loss of their pet, but she knows it could’ve been worse since she usually takes her kids along for walks.

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“I’m just really thankful that they weren’t there because it was really traumatizing,” Charland said. “Their safety could have been at risk too.”

Coyote safety

Sara Jordan-McLachlan, a wildlife biologist with the Urban Coyote Project, said November to February is when coyotes are the most active.

“This time of year… is coyote mating season,” said Jordan-McLachlan. “So you will see them more out and about when you normally wouldn’t.”

Jordan-McLachlan said the chances of a fatal run-in are rare but pet owners should be cautious in open, off-leash areas.

“[Coyotes] are highly adaptable so they adjust their behaviours to see what works for them to survive,” Jordan-McLachlan said.

“They try to avoid conflict with humans but if they see a situation where they can benefit from — in the case of taking a small animal that’s off-leash — they’re going to take advantage of it.”

Jordan-McLachlan recommended keeping small dogs on a leash — even in off-leash parks.