A Litchfield Park man is concerned about an increase in coyotes plaguing his neighborhood.
Charles Hoehne has lived in the area near Dysart Road and Missouri Avenue for the past 30 years, but over the last few months, the coyote problem has worsened dramatically.
"There’s been at least nine or 10 dogs now that have been either severely injured or killed,” said Hoehne.
He says neighbors have been posting about coyote attacks and sightings all over the community board of the Nextdoor app.
On Tuesday, his best friend and companion, a 2-year-old Chihuahua named Chico, came face-to-face with a coyote.
“It’s been tough. I miss him so much already,” said Hoehne.
Monday’s monsoon storm caused some damage to his backyard and blew his back door open. Tuesday morning, he went out to fix the door and the barricades underneath that kept Chico from getting out. While he was fixing that gate, he heard Chico cry.
“I turned around. I said, ‘Where are you?’ and I heard, ‘yap, yap, yap,’ you know. I heard the screaming,” he said.
Hoehne knows coyotes are common in the area, which is why he always keeps a close eye on Chico and goes outside with him at all hours of the day.
What he didn’t realize that day was that the other side of the gate had also been blown wide open and Chico had gotten out.
“My back was only turned for 30 seconds and this happened,” he said.
As he rushed to that side of the yard, he says he saw Chico rushing back towards him and saw the coyote take off.
“He was in shock, he was in terror,” Hoehne added.
Hoehne rushed Chico to the vet. He said they tried to save Chico, but it was too late.
“It’s heartbreaking for both of us. We loved him a lot,” Hoehne said of himself and his wife.
Hoehne says he’s reached out to Arizona Game and Fish, but says not a lot can be done.
Arizona Game and Fish says these coyotes have lived in the area all their lives and have grown used to humans. Coyotes naturally target small animals, it’s part of their behavior.
Game and Fish officials said coyotes become complacent and tolerant of people over a span of several years, so it’s important for people to try to do everything they can to keep them away.
Officials say don’t leave pet food or water outside. Pick up any fruit that has fallen from trees, and be sure to keep a close eye on your pets at all times.
A cost-effective way to also keep them away is to spray them with a Super Soaker or other water gun. Officials say you can fill them up with a solution of about 10 percent household ammonia and 90 percent water, and spray the coyotes as long as you can do it from a safe distance. The solution is non-harmful to humans, but it acts like a pepper spray for coyotes.
For more information on coyotes, click here.