Royal Oak family says dog was taken from backyard, killed by coyote

Couple finds apparent remains of small dog after disappearance

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Residents in a Royal Oak neighborhood are sounding the alarm after their dog was killed by a coyote.

The dog went missing Sunday morning from a fenced-in yard. It happened in the Vinsetta Park neighborhood at the end of Lawndale Drive at a home next to train tracks.

The homeowner said a coyote likely heard the dog barking, hopped the four-foot chain-link fence and snatched him before jumping back over.

"We had Oliver for four and a half years," Kirsten Thomas said.

Thomas said she let her two small dogs, Oliver and Odie, out into the backyard around 8:30 a.m. Sunday and went to make a cup of coffee.

When she came back, only Odie was at the door.

"I walked outside and just called his name a few times, and there was no sign of him," Thomas said. "I was immediately alarmed and I woke my husband up and we started walking around calling for him."

When Thomas and her husband started searching for Oliver, they made an ominous discovery.

"He said, 'Did you see anything?'" Thomas said. "I said, 'No,' and just then I looked down and it was pretty much the kill spot. There was some fresh blood and remains."

Suspecting a coyote attack, they pressed on down the train tracks and eventually spotted two apparent dens. A neighbor had taken a photo of what he thought was a coyote just last week.

"It is alarming," Thomas said. "There are a lot of small dogs in the neighborhood. It was only a matter of time."

Thomas called Animal Control officials and the DNR. She was told that there wasn't cause for intervention because it was normal coyote behavior. Until coyotes threaten humans, the DNR doesn't get involved.

It wasn't any comfort to Thomas' family. They said Odie is still visibly shaken by what he must have witnessed.

"He's missing him," Thomas said. "He's a little lost."

The DNR hasn't confirmed that there was a coyote, but officials said they tend to den on slopes and often near train tracks. They recommended Thomas call a nuisance control company to have the coyotes trapped and removed.

About the Authors:

Jason is Local 4’s utility infielder. In addition to anchoring the morning newscast, he often reports on a variety of stories from the tragic, like the shootings at Michigan State, to the off-beat, like great gas station food.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.