A Waterbury woman's beautiful little pet was snatched out of her life by a coyote.
Now she's warning others to protect their animals so they don't have to experience the heartache she's dealing with.
Channel 3's Roger Susanin spoke with the family about their tragic loss.
Animal experts said factors like increasing industrialization and the drought could mean more coyotes could come into contact with household pets.
Owner Laura Brazee said animals have always been a big part of her life.
But now there is a void in her heart where her papillon Dillon once was.
"I really notice he's not here...every moment of every day," Brazee said.
The dog's death came out of nowhere.
"They came swiftly and they came violently," Brazee said.
The incident started Saturday morning while Laura was in her backyard with Dillon.
"All of a sudden I hear what sounded like a dog fight...I looked up in the backyard and I saw a large dog. On top of him trying to get a hold of him," Brazee said.
As she ran towards Dillon, the concerned owner spotted something that sent a shiver down her spine.
"As the dog turned I saw the bushy tail...I realized it was a coyote," Brazee said.
The wild animal picked up the tiny dog in its jaws and took off.
"I'm running through the woods and I'm screaming 'no'" Brazee said.
Sadly, there was nothing Laura could do.
"That sinking feeling when you realize that all my efforts were fruitless. And he's gone forever," said Brazee.
Officials with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said Laura's story is not uncommon.
They estimate around 3,000 coyotes live in Connecticut and the animals will sometimes attack pets especially small ones like the 7 pound Dillon.
They advise pet owners to protect their animals by not leaving them outside alone, especially if they are smaller than 25 pounds.
Fences are also a helpful way to protect pets.
For more information on how to keep household animals away from predators, visit DEEP's website.
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