Usually Amy Kukec's 13-year-old miniature pinscher, Sugar, took just a few seconds to take care of business during her final trip outside before bedtime each night.
However, when Kukec let Sugar out Thursday night just after 11 p.m., the small dog never came back to her Warrenville home.
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"I called for her and heard one bark," Kukec said. "I looked for her until about 1:30 in the morning and slept by the back door in case she came back. She had never run away before."
And she didn't run away this time, either.
Police said the dog was snatched and killed by a coyote that had been seen in the neighborhood several times before over the past few months.
Friday morning, Kukec's 14-year-old daughter was leaving out the back door for school and saw the coyote in the backyard and told her mom. Kukec said she called police to report the animal was skulking around her yard for several hours.
"I called them a couple times and told them the coyote wasn't leaving," she said.
It wasn't until the coyote retrieved the body of Sugar from a nearby hiding spot that animal control officers eventually showed up.
Kukec said she chased after the coyote "screaming at it to drop the dog, which it did." Kukec said she could immediately tell the dog was dead.
But the coyote wasn't giving up. After Kukec had taken back Sugar's body, the coyote returned to the yard and responding officers saw for themselves what had attacked the dog, Kukec said.
"They said it was the biggest they had ever seen," she said. "It was huge. Like five feet."
Warrenville officials posted a short account of the coyote attack on the city's website with links to information about how to deal with the predators.
Police were not available for comment Saturday. However, Mayor David Brummel said he was aware of the attack. He warned other pet owners to be on the lookout.
"Warrenville, of course, is surrounded by open space, so you have to be very careful," Brummel said.
Kukec's home is located on the city's northwest side near the Fermilab property line, which features acres of open space. However, her house does not abut the wilderness, which means the coyote was stalking around the residential area, she said.
She's seen a few coyotes around town during the five years her family has lived on Sanchez Drive in Warrenville, but never one so close to her house.
"I've got two (infant) children too, so it's really scary," she said. "I never imagined in a million years after letting the dog out at the same time for five years that a coyote would ever take it."