New Jersey community warned to be vigilant after coyote snatches and kills dog

WYCKOFF, New Jersey (WABC) -- Police in New Jersey are warning residents in Wyckoff to be alert for an aggressive coyote on the loose after they say it attacked and killed a dog.

Doris Heitman, 96, is mourning the loss of her pet after she says the coyote snatched her chihuahua Hartman from their backyard on Tuesday night and later killed it.

Heitman says she had just let the dog out and he barely went past the shrubs near her patio when the coyote attacked.

"I'm not functioning really well, I just keep going over my puppy loss and how it happened," Doris said. "I couldn't sleep, kept seeing that critter in the woods."

The coyote took the dog and ran off. Doris' grandson Brian Heitman tracked it a half mile away.

"Hartman is a part of my family like any dog is to any family and I just felt like I couldn't leave him out there, so I grabbed a kitchen knife and I just ran in that direction," Brian Heitman said.

The dog was dead, near a coyote that showed no fear.

"It kept continuing to circle me, trying to protect its prey I guess," Brian said.

Doris Heitman has been surrounded by her children and grandchildren since the coyote attack.

Police had put out an alert on August 4 about coyote sightings in the area, but Doris' family says many people in this retirement community don't see emails or social media and just didn't know.

The family now wants to make sure people in the area know to be on the lookout.

Police say the animals are very common to the area and have patrols searching.

Doris hopes this doesn't happen to any of her neighbors.

"He was my best friend, he was my comforter, he was a companion, we were growing old together," Doris said.

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