Family’s Chihuahua attacked by coyote on Saturday


PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Leah Cornell is still in disbelief. That’s why she took to social media to tell everyone what happened to her, so it doesn’t happen to someone else.

On Saturday night, she and her husband had just returned to their home in Trinity after doing some shopping, put the kids to bed, and began to unload. They let their beloved 15-year old Chihuahua, Zoey, out to use the bathroom. The next thing they knew, she was gone.

“He (her husband) was towards the back of the truck and he heard a yelp,” said Cornell. “And as soon as he heard the yelp he came over here and he did not see the dog.” Leah’s husband ran out and saw a coyote had snatched Zoey.

“So he took off after the coyote and he had always remembered that if you make loud noises when you near a coyote that it spooks them,” said Cornell.

But it was too late, Zoey had critical injuries. By the time they got to the emergency vet, Zoey had to be put to sleep.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that coyote encounters, even in well-populated areas are not uncommon. The agency posts tips for pet owners on its website.

Tony Chizmar lives in the same neighborhood as the Cornells and enjoys walking his dog “Cubby.” He knows there are coyotes in the area and sees them in broad daylight.

“You don’t see them very often during the day, it’s unusual,” said Chizmar. “But we have seen them a couple of times during the day.”

Chizmar says he does let Cubby out to use the bathroom at night, but always stays nearby.

“I let him go out by himself, but I stand right there, I don’t and I’m watching him every minute,” said Chizmar. “And if anything were to come out I would protect him. “

That is precisely why Cornell is telling her story. She and her husband were only feet away from Zoey, but that wasn’t enough. She’s hoping by posting her story on Facebook, it could prevent another family’s pet from an attack.

“So that other people don’t make the same mistake that we made. We feel terrible about it happening,” said Cornell. “But if I could help someone else going through the same situation it does make me feel a little bit better.”


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