Coyote snatches woman's dog in The Villages

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. — A family in The Villages is distraught after their dog was attacked and taken from them by a coyote.

It happened in the middle of a packed residential neighborhood in Sumter County.

Witnesses said the dog, Bailey, was in the back yard with her owner, when a coyote came out of the bushes across the street, grabbed the dog and took off.

"That shouldn't happen to anybody's animal," said resident Audrey White.

Residents in the neighborhood said they saw Bailey often.

"That little dog was so precious. It was kind of like, the neighborhood mascot, and everyone loved it," said Cindy Evans.

The owner’s other dog, Pita, was a few feet away but wasn’t harmed.

"I ran outside immediately, thinking that the dog was just injured. When I got outside, unfortunately, I learned it had been carried away,” Evans said.

Neighbors said Bailey was 3 years old and weighed around 14 pounds.

"She was part Boston terrier and Chihuahua, and she was a decent-size animal. I can't imagine an animal being large enough to carry off a pet that size that quickly. So it had to be something strong and sizeable," Evans said.

Neighbors said there have been other coyote encounters on Welcome Way as well.

White said a different neighbor was out walking her dog shortly after it got dark outside.

"Three weeks ago, she was stalked by a coyote, walking clearly in the street,” White said. "We're going out with sticks and flashlights, sirens or whistles or anything to try and scare them off."

A cat was killed in a similar coyote attack in 2015.

Read: Coyotes causing problems for residents near Cocoa

Bailey’s owners because she's working and still distraught to talk about what happened.  But she did want us to put this story out there to warn other pet owners about the threat of coyotes, so they can take precautions.

Myrt Price, WFTV.com

Myrt Price joined the eyewitness news team as a general assignment reporter in October of 2012.