SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The record-breaking heat and drought are forcing animals, including coyotes, out of their natural habitats and closer to humans.
Krystal Ruiz lost her two dogs, Millie and Pepe, to coyotes last week.
“It's sad; it's very sad. I'm just lost for words. I don't know,” said Ruiz.
Her friends and neighbors aren’t surprised.
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“They have said they've seen coyotes wandering around. I'm also on the nextdoor app, and they said they've seen coyotes or a friend has seen coyotes snatch a dog and kill it.”
Early August is also pupping season when newly-weaned coyotes venture out on their own for food and water.
“Just like us, they're trying to find reprieve from the heat. They're trying to find water sources and places to have a cool day,” said Carly Padilla of San Diego Humane Society.
The University of California Coyote Catcher website tracks sightings and attacks. Their figures for 2018 show coyote incidents are down compared to last year. In 2017, there were 142 coyote attacks. More than halfway through 2018, San Diego is on track to stay below that number, with 64 attacks.
According to the website, there have been six reported pet deaths this year.
“I believe we were getting one to two calls earlier this season. And since the summer hit, we're getting 5-7 calls a week,” Padilla said.
Experts remind pet owners to keep them inside or on a short leash. Another recommendation: don’t leave food or water outside your home. Pet owners should also stay alert in the morning and evening when coyotes are especially active. If you encounter a coyote, take action.
“You get big, bad and loud. You want to scare the coyote. You want to make sure the coyote sees a human, they get fearful, and they want to keep their distance from us,” said Padilla.