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A coyote fatally attacked a dog early Friday in Canton Township, police said.

The incident happened just after 5 a.m. Friday in the area of Saltz and Beck after the dog’s owner let his two bichon frises out in his backyard. One of the dogs was attacked and died from the injuries, police said.

Coyote sightings have become more common in Metro Detroit in the last several years, experts say. Similar attacks on family pets were recently reported in Grosee Ile and Shelby Township, police said.

In Troy, coyote sightings have been so prevalent in the last two years that the city distributed the names of nuisance companies that can remove them.

Coyotes are likely to be spotted during their breeding period, which runs from mid January into March, according to the Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources. Peak activity for coyotes is from dusk till dawn.

On rare occasions, coyotes attack people’s pets. There have been no cases of them attacking humans, according to the DNR.

From a distance, coyotes look similar to a medium-size German shepherds. The animal can be slightly smaller than most domestic dogs, however their size and weight are commonly overestimated because of their long fur. Coyotes carry their tail below the level of their backs when they run, experts say.

Coyotes are attracted to garbage, pet food and garden vegetables, according to the DNR. They also prey on unattended small dogs and cats.

“If residents feel they are in danger of a coyote, or if they observe a coyote in obvious distress, they should contact the police department,” said Canton Police Special Services Lt. Craig Wilsher in a statement Tuesday.

The DNR offers the following tips to minimize conflict with coyotes:

Never approach or touch a coyote

Never intentionally feed a coyote

Eliminate outside food sources, especially pet food

Put garbage out the morning of pick-up

Clear out wood and brush piles; they are a habitat for mice and may attract coyotes

Pets should not be allowed to roam free when coyotes are present.

To report a coyote in distress or causing a threat, called Public Safety’s non-emergency line at (734) 394-5400. For an emergency situation, call 911.

Residents in western Wayne County with nuisance wildlife issues are advised to contact private animal control service company, Varmint Police at (734) 729-0858 or at www.varmintpolice.com.

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2311

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