SAN DIEGO - A 10News viewer is warning the owners of small pets about coyotes at a popular dog park.
Marco Jimenez's Shih Tzu was killed by a coyote Saturday evening at the Grape Street Dog Park in South Park.
Jimenez says he saw three coyotes near a canyon, but they were a good distance away. He believes two of the coyotes started barking to distract him.
"I kind of went first, so I could be the protector of him and then he was behind me so I couldn't see the third coyote that was looping around who got him from behind," said Jimenez.
The wild animal went right for the little dog's neck.
"Basically, the coyote grabbed his neck really quickly and I think at that first impact point he twisted and severed the spinal cord or something," said Jimenez.
He was able to scare the coyote away.
"He let him go, thankfully. He let him go. He didn't take him off to the bushes and finish him so I immediately picked him up," said Jimenez.
The Golden Hill resident said he did not realize the severity of the injury at first.
"At first, because there were no bite wounds, there was no bleeding, I thought that it was just trauma. He was just scared and so I picked him up and put him in the truck and went home really quick," said Jimenez.
Once he took him home, there was no improvement. He rushed his little dog, named Frankie Bones, to an after-hours animal hospital.
"I immediately went to the emergency room down in Chula Vista and basically handed him off to them and I didn't see him again until they euthanized him," said Jimenez.
He is posting fliers around the park to warn other dog owners. He told 10News he contacted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and was told someone would look into the situation.