At least three small dogs have been killed by coyotes in less than two weeks in Wheaton, police said Thursday.
The first attack was reported Nov. 27 when a resident on the 1700 block of Sjorgren Court was outside with two dogs, one of which was on a leash. The resident told police the coyote approached quickly, grabbed the unleashed dog and fled.
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A Wheaton police officer spotted the coyote leaving the area with the dog.
The second attack came Dec. 8 when a coyote mauled a small dog in a fenced yard near North Pierce Avenue and West Liberty Drive. The dog was seriously injured and had to be put down.
The most recent attack was reported Dec. 10 when two coyotes snatched a dog from outside a house on the 1100 block of South Marcey Avenue.
Authorities are cautioning residents that coyotes become more visible at this time of year because food is scarce and young coyotes are leaving their families.
Residents who encounter a coyote are encouraged to shout, clap or throw something in its direction. Such aggressive action, authorities said, adds to the animals' natural fear of humans.
Wheaton police will respond to 911 calls of coyotes acting in a threatening manner, authorities said.