SUDBURY, MASS. (WHDH) - A surge in reports of coyotes attacking pets in Massachusetts are prompting wildlife experts to remind owners to be vigilant.

Communities like Wayland, Concord and Sudbury have seen a number of cases involving dogs being attacked and killed by the wild animals.

One pet owner who recently lost her dog to coyotes described the experience to 7NEWS.

“I feel terrible about it,” Priscilla Reising said. “I’ve been crying for a week.”

Reising told 7NEWS she had let her dog, Scamp, out into the backyard to do his business around 9 p.m. in Sudbury when she said he noticed a pair of coyotes.

She said Scamp was beloved and a joy for her family, but in an instant, he was gone.

“These creatures came out and snatched him up,” she explained. “I had no time to react and I don’t know if I could have done anything, anyway.”

Her husband later found Scamp’s body in the woods.

In Reising’s case, she had been on her home’s deck when the coyotes attacked. According to a state wildlife expert, one way to deter attacks like these can start with keeping your pet on a leash.

“It’s the presence of the person immediately on the other end of the leash that’s gonna prevent the coyote from going after the pet,” said Dave Wattles with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Jennifer Condon, an animal patrol officer who serves the affected areas told 7NEWS there is little officers like her can do in cases like these, since coyotes are simply acting on instinct. Instead, vigilance from pet owners can be key to keeping their dogs safe.

“You have to, have to, have to, 100%, be accompanying your dog when you’re outside right now,” said Condon. “It’s super important.”

Officials also said the best thing you can do if you see coyotes on your property is to wave your arms and make noise, which typically frightens the animals who, by nature, have an aversion to humans.

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