If a Coyote Kills Your Dogs, Where Do You Turn?

A Chatsworth couple says local agencies and officials rebuffed them after a wild animal scaled their backyard walls and killed two dogs.

Monday started like any other day for Sandra Parness of Chatsworth. She rose at 6 a.m. to let her three small dogs into the backyard to answer nature’s call. But within 15 minutes, her worst nightmare had come true: At least one coyote had attacked two of her dogs, killing one and leaving the other mortally wounded.

“I heard Squeaky screaming. There were two bouts of screaming,” said Parness, referring to her 15-year-old male Chinese Crested. “I got to the [sliding glass] door, and Squeaky was bolting, and on the ground I saw trails of urine and feces,” she said, scrolling through photos of her dogs on her iPhone and fingering through pictures in her living room.  

Parness, a retired graphic artist, never saw the predator. But by the time she rushed to her dogs, Squeaky was lying in his Dogloo paralyzed by shock and her Chihuahua mix, Molly, was dead. Molly had been ripped open, her organs and intestines exposed. Squeaky was later euthanized. The third dog, a 12-year-old Yorkshire terrier, BB, survived unharmed.

Parness’ veterinarian told her, “There’s no doubt it’s a coyote attack. Once you see it, you know it,” she related. Before the attacks, she and her husband, Julian, had found what they called evidence of coyotes, including seed-studded feces and trampled grass near the unoccupied house next door. The Parnesses have lived for 28 years in a two-story house in a quiet residential neighborhood near Devonshire Street and Corbin Avenue.

“We’re in fear of taking our dogs out. We’re in fear for our lives,” she said.

Julian Parness immediately called the authorities about the attacks, but was rebuffed.

“Nobody at any animal agency would take my name or file my report,” said Julian Parness, an art teacher at Granada Hills Charter High School. He called the police, and during the next 90 minutes was transferred to multiple agencies, each of which told him that it does not handle coyotes.

“They pass the buck, infinitum. Does a child have to be attacked and killed before anybody does something?” he asked indignantly.

The Parnesses enlisted the help of NBC 4’s Patrick Healy, who they said again contacted the authorities and local officials, including the California Department of Fish and Game and a local assemblyman. Healy was told coyotes are usually left alone because they help control the rodent population and do not adapt well when relocated, according to the Parnesses. Healy also told the Parnesses that in Los Angeles, it is illegal to kill coyotes, they said.

“I’m not allowed to shoot or kill them, but the coyotes are allowed to kill my pets of 15 years,” Julian Parness said. “Our animals were murdered. They didn’t die of sickness or old age.”

As they decide how to raise awareness about the dangers of coyotes in areas away from the hills, the Parnesses have enclosed a section of their patio with wooden trellises and metal fencing to protect their surviving dog. The custom-built, air-conditioned room adjoining their garage where their Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix slept remains untouched.

“When no human ... is hurt, they do nothing. Pets don’t count. There needs to be a specific place to report the incident and take action,” said Julian Parness, who said he felt he had lost two family members and vowed to push for legislation through his elected representatives. “The reality of life is it takes one person to get the ball rolling. I want somebody to do something.”

I hate coyotes August 17, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Irene, Last week, at Balboa Lake Park, while walking our dogs, as we've done every morning for over 8 years, a pack of coyotes came out of the woods and began harassing everyone with pets. They even approached people walking dogs on leashes, with babies in strollers. Authorities were called and nothing was done. No one showed up to intervene.
Irene Gibson August 17, 2012 at 12:30 AM
If you REALLY care about your pets and are responsible, you will keep them in at night and walk with them on a leash during the day. Not wise to use your gun in your neighborhood!
Irene Gibson August 17, 2012 at 12:38 AM
We walk our dog on a leash at Balboa Lake Park, too, daily and have not had that experience, but we were chased by a very large raccoon one day. WRT your incident, I would go immediately to the Park Office and describe what you experienced on their property and where exactly it was and I know you will be listened to and pleased with whatever resolution reached.
Ryan r October 31, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I just lost 3 Pomeranians in chatsworth to a coyote or coyotes something needs to be done I will not sit I quiet RIP Bella,Tweaker and Peanut :(
angela November 08, 2012 at 09:50 PM
My peekineese was taken yesterday morning by a coyote my husband got outside just in time to see him carry her off. How can you say do be scared dont over react . I am scared i live in a around alot of preople, hou ses, near a school,in came up and around my fense to get to her. yes my husband should have been out there he will have to live with that. but there does need to be something done. she was my baby.
Lisette Fleur December 15, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Irene, I think you are greatly misinformed about the devestation that these predators are causing to our pet populations. They have easily taken dogs off leashes and the attitude that"we have nothing to worry about" is sending a false message that misrepresents the seriousness of this issue. Protecting ourselves is crucial. Coyote rollers, higher fences and "learning to live in their environment" becuse we have encroached their space, are all insufficient methods of protection. If you have coyote predation in your area and they enter your property, shoot to kill. Don't inhumanely mame them but protect and save your human and pet families. For those of you who are not advocates of guns, don't use that method. However, those of us who are and feel this provides the safety of deterrent to further attacks, don't demean our right to do so.
Irene Gibson December 15, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Lisette Fleur- I hear where you are coming from and am glad we are not close neighbors. A number of years ago, when dogs were allowed to run wild in our hills, Our neighbor across the street fired his rifle at what he thought was a coyote and missed. That bullet, however, whizzed by the ear of another neighbor who was out working in HIS yard. We were all a bit shaken by the incident and it didn't happen again! I hope you have similar luck. The thing is that later a coyote wandered through our neighborhood that evidently encountered one of our dogs who had a resulting bite on his ankle.....and then fell ill a couple of weeks later with what turned out to be rabies. Our dog died, of course, but none of us was harmed. Luckily our health department is on the watch for ailing wildlife....more than coyotes!
Tina Cohen January 20, 2013 at 06:49 AM
I'm so sorry for your loss. My little Pug girl just 3 years old was killed by a Coyote on 01/17/13 in my backyard at 10:30am in Encino Hills. I'm so sad and now have PTSD from seeing the Coyote killing my baby. I rushed her to the Vet but she was DOA. I have tried to report the murder of my dog but like you have no results. No one is safe even in our yard for another dog, kids playing or just having a simple barbeque. We the people of this great city must demand answers & action. I'm ready!!!!
RJ January 28, 2013 at 06:59 PM
We lost our beautiful calico cat in the early morning on Friday Jan 18, 2013. We live on the south side of Mason Park and have previously seen coyotes in the neighborhood. One even followed a man with his pugs around dusk. She was let out just before sunrise. I heard a loud cat fight (or so I thought) as it was likely her defending herself before she was taken. Our cat was always pretty careful...but letting her out when it was dark probably tipped the advantage to the coyote. Never saw her again. We had her for at least 10 years. Another friend about a mile to the east had her young Yorkie taken.
Carl Petersen III January 28, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Tina Cohen 10:50 pm on Saturday, January 19, 2013 "I have tried to report the murder of my dog but like you have no results" . . I am sorry for your loss, but I think that "murder" overstates what happened. Coyotes do not have the ability to reason between right and wrong. They saw a food source and acted.
Carl Petersen III January 28, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Tina Cohen 10:50 pm on Saturday, January 19, 2013 "No one is safe even in our yard for another dog, kids playing or just having a simple barbeque." . . I regularly encounter coyotes while walking my dogs in Aliso Canyon Park. Once they see us they run away pretty quickly. They will not go near a group of humans having a barbeque.
Sue Jackson February 21, 2013 at 06:44 AM
I just had my chihuaIhua taken by a coyote. I am in shock, I only let him out for a minute to go to the bathroom. I'm feeling very guilty because I was not right there with him. He was a rather large chihuahua weighing about 11 pounds. I live on the outskirts of Oklahoma City. I just don't know what to do about the coyote problem. We have a fenced yard and have never had anything like this happen in the 20 years we have lived here.
Mike Szymanski February 21, 2013 at 03:13 PM
No need to feel guilty, it's a terrible thing.... we just heard about coyote-rollers that fit on top of fences to keep the beasts out... we'll have something up on the Studio City Patch Coyote Alert page... http://studiocity.patch.com/topics/coyote-alert-2f09866c
Irene Gibson February 21, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Evidently, even in a fenced yard, until coyote rollers are installed, it's best to take your dog out on a leash.....presenting a larger image. Time of day makes a difference, too. Coyotes are less likely to be out hunting mid-day. They are definitely hunting at night and early morning.
Dan Pilla March 12, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Joseph March 12, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Wait? Dan 3-16-13 hasn't even arrived. I don't get it?
His follower March 21, 2013 at 06:31 AM
My sweet and gallant dachshund Oscar was carried away screaming at 4:30 am on March 17th. Until you hear a beloved dog being carried away by these vicious animals you cannot understand. Yes dogs scream, I have been crying for 3 days. I feel I should have run out to save him. I was so in shock I just fell on the front porch screaming, I blame myself. Oscar was a devoted and loving friend who brang so much joy. I have six small grandchildren and we live on 5 acres. We will know be out there with weapons to protect them. I am glad I live in a state where it is open season on coyotes. This is the 3rd dog in our 15 acre circle to be attacked two of them being killed. 17 years ago we all had large farm dogs roaming the properties successfully. The city folks moved in complaining about other people's dogs roaming all the properties. Now they are sad their little pets are being brutalized. Along with me.
His follower March 21, 2013 at 06:39 AM
I am so sorry. I feel your pain. Our mini dachshund was snatched at 4:30 am. Where we normally let him go out to enjoy the great outdoors is fenced and safe for him. In fact it is a deer fence, this morning I let him out front real quick to go potty, the coyotes snatched him and I could hear him screaming. I can't stop crying and completely blame myself. Since then I have learned coyotes will attack small children. We have six small grandchildren who will need constant supervision. I will never get over the screaming I heard from my sweet doggie and that I let him down by not protecting him.
His follower March 21, 2013 at 06:44 AM
I am sorry coyotes will attack even when the food is in abundance. We live on 5 acres as those around us do. The voles and field mice are rich in abundance we have often seen the coyotes catching these pests. Sadly these vicious creatures have taken a liking to eating the family dogs. 3 in the last few months. Along with my beloved dachshund. They will attack small children.
His follower March 21, 2013 at 06:50 AM
Thank you, my sweet dachshund was carried off screaming by coyotes. We r fighting back to protect our grandchildren fortunately I live in a state where there is free range on these veracious creatures.
His follower March 21, 2013 at 06:54 AM
I feel like I have PTSD AS WELL! My sweet dachshund my gallant little man was carried away at 4:30 am while out for a quick potty break. I can still hear him screaming. I blame myself for not running out to attack them. I will forever feel guilty that I wasn't braver. He was a good friend and brought me so much joy.
His follower March 21, 2013 at 06:59 AM
I am so sorry. Our dachshund was carried off screaming we never saw him again. We spent two days standing int the front window crying and hoping he would come running back. We will now hunt them ourselves to protect our grandchildren,
Irene Gibson March 21, 2013 at 04:36 PM
If "I hate coyotes" shoots to kill....and hits a person....he may hear from the law! It's best to coexist. Enjoy living in this environment. If you love your pet, use common sense to protect it.....simple measures have been posted earlier. Lisette Fleur states that coyotes have taken dogs off of leashes. I challenge that, wondering if the leash was also attached to her hand. A dog on a leash attached to a human being presents a larger image which a coyote will not attack! We know that coyotes walk their way and we walk ours. If you show 'fear' and grab your dog and run, for no reason at all, you are merely asking for trouble.....falling and injuring yourself and the dog, for one thing.
Piyada April 01, 2013 at 08:14 AM
My beloved Cassie was killed by a coyote tonight. I love her so much and I'm sure she knew that she was my baby and one of my best friends. I hate this feeling of shock and I can't sleep. I have to keep covering my ears every time I hear coyotes howling tonight. I pray she died quickly and I know she is in heaven. Love you baby! Reading these stories help because I know I'm not alone and others know what I'm experiencing. I know I'll get through this, I just pray I overcome all these negative emotions and feel stable soon. 
Irene Gibson April 01, 2013 at 04:15 PM
We all feel your sadness, Piyada, and hope you feel better soon. Loss of your beloved Cassie is something you will find hard to forget. She must have been outside unattended when the coyote happened by. As Carl Peterson mentioned, "Coyotes do not have the ability to reason between right and wrong. They see a food source and act." Encroaching on their territory as we are (Developers don't think of such things when they build) makes us vulnerable. We must learn to coexist. Your anger should be aimed at the 'Developer' of your area rather than the coyote! And, it's obviously time to pay attention to what the Park Rangers are telling us about how to cope.
Allison P May 29, 2013 at 12:52 PM
I sadly lost my dog at 4:15 am on 5/18/13. I live in Orange County; I was walking my two small dogs. I had one off leash as she was real good to stay by my side. She saw something down the street ran down and turned the corner and I could hear screams. I picked up my other dog and ran towards the corner. When I turned the corner, the coyote had her in its mouth, she was screaming and I started to scream bloody murder and ran towards the coyote. I ran after them screaming another block. The coyote turned a corner and I could not tell where they went. I ran home carrying my other dog. I never thought that would happen. I have so much guilt. Someone kindly told me that I was just giving her some off-leash adventure time. I loved her so much. I am warning people around my neighborhood, in hopes that my story will prevent them from having their pets off leash. It's hard; I don't want to walk in the same area. This was the worst lesson I have had to learn and most horribly, a lesson that caused death to my beautiful dachshund/terrier. I am lucky I have my other dog to help comfort me, but it is still very hard. *Trying to remember all the wonderful things she did that brought me so much joy*
Christie June 07, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Irene, you should move out into the wilderness and live with your beloved coyotes! You are all about defending these wild animals NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES are, your comments anger me! These people are talking about the loss of their beloved pets by these vicious animals, the last thing they want to hear is you defending them! And you feel the need to respond to EVERY COMMENT! Put your energy into fighting a worthwhile cause like world hunger or something! Has a coyote actually ever killed one of your pets? In front of you? Maybe you would change your tune a bit... Ugh!
Loretta McCaffrey June 29, 2013 at 03:29 PM
I am so upset! I just lost my dear sweat prized pet chicken, Abby, She was so dear to me I feel so much guilt and I feel respnsable I usually close her door on her coop but! My poor baby! She was hatched on 11/16/06 I got her at three days old. She was our family pet and so loved. We have a high fence and a fence around the coop and I built it high for safty but she was still vulnerable. I am so so sorry my sweat ABBY! Rest in peace my dear pet! I miss you!
robby white July 01, 2013 at 01:37 PM
We lost our 10 year old pom last Thursday. This weekend was the hardest weekend of my family's life. He was like a son to me. I never had any encounter with coyotes before. We had heard about bobcats and other wild animals but never seen them before. There is a large piece of land that is now being developed about a mile to the north and I see that is being a main cause. Plus, the winds were awful the night prior, so the animals could have been disoriented. We live in the animal kingdom, but it would have been nice to be informed by our city leaders in Edmond (suburb of OKC, OK) that if you have small dogs to not let them go pee outside when it is dark out. Because it only takes one time for them to take your family member and brutally murder them causing trauma like never experienced before. I will miss Ben everyday. I feel guilty like other readers, and tear up even just writing this. The pain is immense, and our family is in deep mourning all because of this vicious, worthless predator that eats anything it comes across. I am so sad. I only wish someone had given me an actual warning. I will try to convince our local leaders to be more proactive, as our city grows and trusting families move in, they must know of these dangers. We know we can't bring our canine son back, but maybe someone else's beloved pet can be spared by his story. We remember all the great times we got to spend together, and cherish those memories now.
Spike Bite December 20, 2013 at 02:46 AM
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