Coyote kills beagle at off leash dog park in Basin Canyon

PARK CITY, Utah — On Thanksgiving Day, Megan Robinson was walking with her two dogs on a sunny, mild day at the off-leash dog park near Basin Canyon in Silver Summit.

After hearing her bigger dog make a lot of “horrific noise,” she ran ahead to find that a large coyote had grabbed her small beagle and broken his neck. Then, after initiating a fight, the coyote punctured the larger dog right above the eye. The smaller dog passed away that day, and the larger dog is okay.

“It didn’t want to let go of our small dog because it was his meal,” Robinson said.

“This is like mid-day, 45 degrees outside, like really, really unheard of for coyotes to be out. We hear them all the time in the morning, but this is mid-afternoon. So it kind of put our whole neighborhood on high alert just because we all have tiny kids.”

Scott Root, conservation officer for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) in Summit County, said they don’t receive a lot of complaints about coyotes. However, he said over the years coyotes have certainly become more urbanized.

According to Wild Aware Utah, coyotes become more active, vocal, and territorial during mating season, which runs from December through February.

“They’re a predator, and they’re going to be following whatever food source that they can access,” Root said. He said they tend to feed off of rodents, rabbits, birds, and sometimes scavenge dead creatures.

“Be careful and bring your pets in at night,” he said.

Below are tips from DWR:


  • Do not feed coyotes.
  • Remove attractants from your property, including pet food, water sources, bird feeders, and fallen fruit.
  • Secure trash in a locked receptacle. Keep it inside or put it out only on the morning of pick up.
  • Trim vegetation around your yard to reduce hiding places.
  • Do not leave small children outside unattended.
  • As a deterrent, install outdoor and motion-sensitive lighting around your property. Lights also make approaching coyotes visible.
  • If a coyote is on your property make it feel unwelcome: yell, throw rocks, bang pots and pans, spray it with a hose or turn on sprinklers.


Pets may be perceived as food for coyotes and large dogs may be seen as a threat or competition. Coyotes have taken pets in backyards, open areas, and right off a leash.

Protect your pets and keep them current on vaccinations. Here are some tips to help reduce the risks to your pets:

  • Supervise pets when they are outside, especially at dawn and dusk.
  • Never leave pets outside after dark.
  • Keep dogs leashed, especially when on trails and in open areas.
  • Never let your dog chase or “play” with coyotes.
  • Cats should be kept indoors.
  • To deter coyotes, fence your yard with a six-foot-high fence. Use electric fencing to help keep coyotes away from pets and livestock.
  • Provide secure shelter for hobby farm pets such as poultry, rabbits, and goats.
  • Secure outdoor pets in a kennel, barn or shed at night. If that is impossible, a small, well-lit pen close to a structure is the next best option.
  • Actively discourage coyotes from your property. Install strobe lights and sirens to scare away coyotes. Use guard animals such as dogs, donkeys, or llamas to protect hobby farm pets and livestock.


  • Make noise while hiking to alert wildlife of your presence.
  • Do not approach a coyote.
  • Pick up small pets, make loud noises, stomp your feet, or throw rocks or sticks if necessary to frighten the coyote away.
  • Do not run or turn your back on a coyote that has approached you. Face the coyote, shout at it, be as big and loud as possible, wave your arms, and back away slowly.

If you have an encounter with an aggressive coyote, call Summit County animal control at (435) 615-3985, or the Park City (435-615-5500) or Summit County Sheriff’s Office (435-615-3600).

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