Coyote suspected in attack on Carmel dog

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It's not unusual to encounter a coyote on Carmel's east side, even in broad daylight. One homeowner, though, got a nasty surprise when she says a coyote got inside her privacy fence and attacked her dog.

Susan Hughes had just returned from a short errand last Friday when she says she found her 12-year-old Westie, Emma, just inside the door of her home near Main Street and Gray Road. Now, she's still trying to get the images out of her mind.

"Came home to the horrific thing I cannot get out of my mind," said Hughes. "It was a totally gruesome scene. It was a very bloody scene."

Hughes had recently installed a doggie door to make it easier for Emma to come and go. Emma was found just inside that door.

"Right in there is where her head was and all in there was just a trail of blood," said Marci Logan, showing us the spot just inside the dog door, inside the house.

"No clue whatsoever that it happened outside. No blood," said Hughes.

At first, Hughes and her sister thought one of their other dogs had attacked Emma, but there was no sign of blood on either of them or anywhere else in the house. They immediately took the dog to the veterinarian.

"He said it was an outdoor creature - coyote or fox; probably a coyote. I said, 'Doctor, we have a six-foot privacy fence all around the house.' He said 'Doesn't matter.' He said, 'They will jump over that fence in a second'," Tom Hughes said.

Hamilton County Animal Control said it is aware of the existence of coyotes but that the bigger problem is coyotes who have bred with regular dogs, creating coy dogs who have no fear of humans.

"One was bold enough to walk through our backyard in the middle of the day. Just walked through the backyard," said a woman who asked not to be identified. She was out walking her own dog on Monday when we found her and she said she's very aware of the problem.

It is still not known what attracted the coyote. Possibly the dog's food bowl inside the door, which experts say is a lure for coyotes.

But two expert trappers tell Eyewitness News it's almost unheard of for coyotes to actually enter a home.

The victims say the coyotes seem "brave enough to come, actually, into the house."

"Our next door neighbors have two small dogs and a coyote tried to get in their dog door. They have scratch marks all around it and one of their dogs was attacked, they assume by a coyote," the unidentified woman elaborated.

"There was one over in that yard and in that yard. Coyotes," said neighbor Becky Peck.

"He was going nuts. There was a coyote between our houses. At 116th and Towne, a coyote got a dog in their neighborhood," said Stephanie Jane Hahn. "Back in the fall, they started getting skittish in the evening. I knew something...they're not shy dogs."

She thought her dogs were reacting to a coyote's scent.

"This is part of the encroachment of civilization on their territory," she said.

Peck, just around the corner, says her dog Sonny likes to run his fenced in yard. Now, she says, "I do worry. I called my neighbor told her to keep her dogs in because they have an invisible fence."

There is no way to know how many animals are killed by coyotes or foxes each year, but the safe bet is most of those occurred outside the home - not inside.