NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Letting the dogs out before bedtime is an evening ritual for most families.
But a recent coyote attack has some pet owners rethinking that routine.
The deadly encounter was in North Richland Hills, right off the 2nd hole on the Iron Horse golf course. The course backs up to Loop 820 and an undeveloped area directly across the way.
Now the city is alerting golfers, employees and nearby homeowners — and setting traps for the coyotes, which find the golf course an attractive place to hang out.
Tom Gensler's "invisible fence" preserved his view of the golf course and it kept his dog in his backyard; but it couldn't keep the coyotes out.
"Sasha had a beautiful long tail. And, this hair was found at the entry to the sand trap over there where the tracks led away," Gensler said.
Sasha had been the family pet for seven years. The Genslers always paid close attention to her, especially after they spotted coyotes on the 2nd green at Iron Horse.
"They were out on the green behind my house one afternoon, scratching their backs. That's how close they're coming to humans at this point," Gensler said.
The city says coyote sightings aren't unusual in North Richland Hills, and the city issues occasional alerts warning families with small pets.
After the Genslers' report, animal control set a few large dog traps, but so far, they haven't worked.
"Even if they see one in their neighborhood, we're just asking them to give us a call," said humane officer Spencer Kelley. "That way we can go out and patrol the areas."
The Genslers would like to see professional trackers called in to find the coyotes. They don't want another family to go through what they've already experienced.
"The thought of your animal being dragged by its neck away from your house in your own backyard has been really traumatic," Tom Gensler said.
Hurst, Euless, Bedford and Watauga all report coyote sightings year-round, but none of them have any reports of coyotes attacking people or pets in recent months.