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Coyotes Believed Responsible For Series Of Missing Pets In Fairfield, Conn.

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) -- Wild coyotes are being blamed for the disappearance of several family pets in one part of Connecticut.

While officials said coyotes aren't uncommon in the Fairfield area, the aggressive attacks are.

The latest victim was a beagle. The dog's owner said she had let it out in the backyard, but later found it mauled by a coyote in the front yard.

Colleen Sinclair lives next door to the latest coyote attack victim. The beagle, which was playing in the yard unsupervised, is one of at least three dogs that have been killed in her neighborhood, officials said.

Sinclair said she is worried about her dog "Buddy."

"She has an electric fence, so I would just let my dog out at night. She would stay out for 10 minutes and I'd bring her in, but now I take it outside on a leash, make sure she's safe, then bring her in," Sinclair told CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez.

Fairfield Animal Control said at least five dogs have been killed by coyotes in the area in as many months, adding many pets have gone missing.

"I just think it's really scary about having coyotes in our neighborhood," Jack Andrews said.

Though coyote sightings are not uncommon in the heavily wooded area, residents said the population seems to be growing and they are hungry.

"If there are dogs, if there's food, wherever there's a food supply they're gonna come," resident Mary Burns said.

State Rep. Barbara Kupchick said her two beagles were almost attacked by a coyote in her backyard.

Kupchick said she was able to scream and scare the coyote away, but fearing more attacks are imminent, she's spearheading a campaign to control the coyotes.

"In my opinion this isn't going to get better. It's just going to get worse and I don't think, as community leaders, we should just stand idly by and allow this to continue," Kupchick said.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Fairfield's Animal Control are working together to discuss options to control the coyote population.

But in the meantime, they're urging residents to always supervise their pets if they're outdoors.

Experts said if approached by a coyote, never run away -- always calmly walk away. You can also try to frighten the coyotes away by making loud noises, throwing sticks at them or spraying them with a water hose.

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