RICHARDSON - Recent reports of coyote sightings in residential areas across North Texas have some pet owners concerned.

It's been a tough week for Shelby Pipken and her small dog, Simba. Pipken said her 5-year-old Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix was mauled by a coyote and nearly killed. The dog's body is now covered with bite marks and bruises after last Thursday's vicious attack.

'The doctor said that he was literally picked up by the jaw and just thrown multiple times,' Pipken said. 'That's how bad his wounds were.'

Pipken said a coyote broke through a fence behind her home in Richardson and attacked Simba. The woman and her neighbors are now sending e-mails and community alerts, warning others about the wild animal roaming their street.

'You never really think that they live right in your backyard,' Pipken said of the coyotes.

Animal control agencies across Collin County are getting regular reports of coyote sightings right now. Jamey Cantrell, manager of Plano Animal Services, said the sightings are common this season.

'This time of year, you will see them out more frequently,' Cantrell said. 'The mothers have litters, so they are going out to hunt more frequently.'

Cantrell is urging pet owners to remove food and anything that may attract strange or wild animals to your yard.

'If you have a female dog who has not been spayed, whenever she goes in heat, she's going to attract make coyotes,' Cantrell said.

As for Pipken, she said she's praying Simba will survive his injuries. The dog remains in pretty bad shape after several surgeries.

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