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Warning issued after coyote kills couple’s pug

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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR) –- Wildlife experts say if you own a small pet, and live near the Chesterfield County airport, it's best to keep them indoors.

When CBS 6 News first got the call from the Thornes, they thought a bobcat had killed their pug. But after we showed experts a picture, they told us it was a coyote. In fact, some of the images we showed Wednesday night were graphic evidence of a violent encounter.

Little Yancy was a big part of the Thorne family who live in Chesterfield County.

"We loved her a lot and took good care of her,” said James Thorne. “She meant the world to us."

Yancy was killed Monday afternoon in her own backyard off Leafycreek Drive near Harry Daniel Park.

"I saw bite marks on her neck,” said Thorne, who said the wild coyote scaled the fence and attacked the pug. The Thornes’ other dog came to Yancy's defense and killed the coyote.

Wildlife experts say it's not uncommon to see coyotes encroach on suburban life.

"If there's dog food or cat food in the yard, especially bird feeders, all of that stuff attracts wild animals," said Lee Walker, from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

The Thornes are heartbroken. But wildlife experts want their neighbors and other homeowners to beware, because the coyote attack came around mid-day Monday. That’s unusual because coyotes are more active at dawn or dusk.

Experts say if you see one, call animal control, and take steps to keep the furry members of your family safe.

"If the sighting is confirmed then it's a good idea to keep your pets in," said Walker.

Wildlife officials remind pet owners to make sure their pets are vaccinated against rabies. Additionally, if your pet is attacked by a wild animal, have your pet checked out by a veterinarian.


  • Rachel

    I’ve seen a coyote three times in the one year I’ve been in my house. The last time my dog was out and it tried to get him.

  • Chris

    What’s the # for animal control? 748-1683 right? Their hours are only standard business hours (M-F 10:30-5pm) but also Sat 12-4pm.

    We have had MANY sightings in our Creekwood neighborhood (around Hull St Rd near Rt 150) which is quite a bit north of there….

    • Lesley

      it doesn’t say test them, it says vaccinate them. It says have them checked out if they are attacked. So did they find the coyote body later?

  • CanidBilogist

    The animal in the video appears to be a cat. Cat ears, Cat head, Cat canines. I would hope the Virginia wildlife biologist would be able to tell a cat from a canid but I know a NCWRC furbearer biologist that cannot tell a fox from a coyote. I conferred with a coworker with 30 years experience as a coyote/ wolf biologist, I have 15 years experience in coyote/wolf population management; we both agree that the animal in the picture appears to be a cat. It looks a bit odd to be a Bobcat, more like a Maine Coon cat or something else.

  • lee77

    “Wildlife experts say it’s not uncommon to see coyotes encroach on suburban life.”

    I don’t know who these so-called “wildlife experts” are, but they couldn’t be more wrong. It’s not the coyotes encroaching on “suburban life,” it’s humans and their barking fleabags encroaching on the coyotes’ natural habitat.

    The only time coyotes attack dogs is when the fleabags are barking their fool heads off and attract the coyote’s attention. Furthermore, I cannot imagine why anyone is paying any attention at all to what these delusional dog owners are saying. I mean, come on, they claim their other dog killed the coyote but don’t know if it was a bobcat or a coyote? A six-year-old can tell the difference between a canine and a feline! And finally, if their yap rat meant “the world” to them, the Thornes have much bigger problems than a dead dog!

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