SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - How do you control wild animals, like coyotes, who are preying on your pets? It is a growing problem.
Wildlife officials say within the last few years, coyotes have gotten a lot closer to humans because we are cutting down on their habitats. Living with them and keeping your pets and family protected at the same time is a hard balance to find.
Pet owner, Howard Charba, is not taking another chance after losing his dog, Angel, to a coyote. The rest of his pups are now escorted with his 12-gauge shotgun when they have to go out. He says his wife was standing with them the other night when a coyote attacked.
"She hears Peanut yelping and taking off toward the house," said Charba. "Then, she says just in a blur, he grabbed her and she just heard her squealing as he took her off."
Peanut was bitten, but survived. Unfortunately, Angel did not.
"He just happened to be fast enough to get away," said Charba.
Howard hates to have to carry a gun around his own home, but worries for his family.
"They were right at my wife's feet," said Charba. "I mean, he had no fear."
Animal control officers say it is common because it is the end of their breeding season.
"You may see them out during the day this time searching for food for the young," said Daniel McIntosh, with animal control. "That's something we get a lot of calls about."
If you live within city limits, you can't shoot, but you can ask about setting traps. Do not let pets out unattended or leave out trash. If you see one, call your local animal control so they can pick it up.
If you live in the country like Charba, it is a little more tricky.
"They're not moving on," said Charba.
Texas Parks and Wildlife says there is currently no funding to hire staff for this. For immediate action, they suggest hiring a licensed trapper. They say some may even work with you on cost because they enjoy the hunt.
You can also trap them yourself, or use electronic calls, like the ones sold at Gander Mountain. They have distress calls to lure in predators like coyotes. Gander Mountain says this has become such a large problem, a lot of East Texans are taking part in contests to try and cut down on the numbers of wild predators. Gander Mountain says they are having another contest this year.