MINNETONKA, Minn. (WCCO) — Lake Minnetonka pet owners are on high alert after recent sightings of coyotes in the area. One family even had a close call with their dog.
“They were looking to make breakfast of her,” Paul Schroepfer said.
It was 7 a.m. Tuesday on Lake Minnetonka when Paul Schroepfer’s home surveillance camera captured his desperate attempt to save his dog as a coyote headed straight for her.
“My dad instincts kicked in and I just booked it down there. I fell on the ice, but I tried to rescue her and was like, ‘Olive, oh my gosh!’” he said.
The 10-pound mini schnauzer is doing well, though Olive’s parents are holding her a little tighter.
“After the fact you can laugh about it because nothing did happen, but you just think of if we wouldn’t have been watching or it was a split second later, who knows?” Keegan Shoutz said.
It’s the first time they’ve seen coyotes near their home. They shared the video on social media in hopes of warning others.
Across the lake, Suzy Fick has also seen them recently.
“They just went around to the other side of the point and kept going over to [Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge]. They’ve just kind of been hanging around in the area,” Fick said.
She’s keeping an extra eye on her dog Darby.
“Minnetonka isn’t having an influx any more than any other … municipality out there,” said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Area Wildlife Supervisor Robert Rashingbauer.
Wildlife experts say coyote sightings are normal this time of year, with mating season from January to the end of March.
“They are out and about a lot more, you are seeing them in the daytime, they’re setting up their territory, so they’re a lot more active and a lot more noticeable, especially during the day,” Rashingbauer said.
He said the best thing to do if you see one is to try to scare it away by making noise and appearing to be larger.
He said coyotes are critical to the ecosystem and help control the rodent population. But it’s important not to feed them, and keep your furry loved ones on a leash.
“It seems like there are a lot of animals roaming around and getting back out now that the weather warmed up, so just keep an eye on them,” Shoutz said. “It can happen faster than you think, so you know, be vigilant.”
The DNR said it’s also a good idea to clean the area under your bird feeder. Any seeds on the ground can attract mice, which then can attract coyotes.