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NEW LONDON  --  With two dogs killed by coyotes in three weeks, the New London police department is keeping a close eye on the south side of the city.

The Taitague family always let their beloved Bichon, Poochie, out to take care of her business, without a leash because she always comes home. Saturday, she didn't though.

Her big sister, Geovonna, a high school freshman, scanned the neighborhood from the front steps.

"I've never seen a coyote and I knew it was a coyote," said Geovonna Taitague, while describing what she saw two neighbors to the south, "Poochie, I saw her there and I knew it was her because she's white."

There she was in the grass, near the road, laying lifeless beneath the coyote.

"Just seeing her laying there, she's like one of my kids," said Jacqueline Taitague, Geovonna's mother. "I just couldn't do nothing but scream."

Her husband, Rob, jumped in his truck and drove at the coyote, beeping his horn.

"The thing wasn't budging," said Jacqueline Taitague. "It was just standing there like 'I'm not moving.'"

At various times, police have followed coyotes, hoping to be led to their dens. But, they can't set traps until certain criteria is met.

They would need to have attacked farm animals, inside a fenced in area, a dog on a leash, with its own or nearby or a human. So far, New London police say, this has not happened.

However, they do take the increased presence of coyotes seriously.

Friday, May 19, police will accompany local students in distributing flyers to residents in the impacted neighborhoods to make certain they have a check list, which will help them make their yards less appealing to coyotes.

This includes not feeding your pets outdoors, making sure your trash cans are closed and secure and that compost piles are not accessible.

If you encounter a coyote while walking your pet, The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection suggests to make loud noises, which may get the coyote to leave the area. Do not, however, turn and run away from the animal.

The Taitague family said the same day their 10 pound Poochie was killed, three coyotes showed up in their neighborhood. And, in the 13 years they have lived on Harbor Lane, they had never seen a coyote before.

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