ANCHORAGE - Roaming coyotes apparently are targeting people's pets in an Anchorage neighborhood.
Two coyotes killed a puppy running in the woods near its owners on a trail in the federal Campbell Tract within Far North Bicentennial Park. Just to the south, as many as a dozen cats and dogs have disappeared from the Zodiac Manor neighborhood.
"My guess is a fair number of those are probably due to coyotes," said state biologist Rick Sinnott, who examined the remains of the puppy. "They're certainly active over there and have shown themselves willing and capable of killing a dog, at least a 20-pound dog."
In the mid-September incident, a 6-month-old German short-haired pointer bounded away while its owners walked along the trail with an older dog. Then came the yelps.
Thinking that a bear was attacking their dog, the couple dashed to the Bureau of Land Management's field office and returned with law enforcement ranger Brad Honerlaw.
They found the female puppy dead in the woods and two coyotes slinking away into the trees.
"I didn't get a very good look at them," Honerlaw said. "They circled out about 30, 40 yards and kind of looked back at us."
During the same period, animals have been vanishing from the neighborhood about a mile to the south, near thousands of acres of parkland. The situation has become increasingly bizarre, said Jack and Carol Klein, whose cat is among the disappearing pets.
The missing pets include a terrier that was tied up in a backyard and a tiny, shy cat that had been declawed and never roamed.
"What the heck is going on here?" Carol Klein said. "I realize that everybody who lets their animals run around loose has to face the consequences, but it's just a rash of disappearances."
The Kleins say they suspect someone has been snatching some of the pets and letting them loose elsewhere in town. Two animals later turned up far from home, one in Eagle River and one at municipal animal control.
At the same time, people have been catching glimpses of coyotes in the neighborhood, Jack Klein said.
Another neighbor, Pixie Seibe, said she encountered four coyotes in May while walking her two large dogs.
"They were pretty close and kept coming closer. They followed me for like 45 minutes," she told the Anchorage Daily News.
She saw another coyote a few weeks ago, but it took off.