Nature can be cruel.
Coyotes are attacking small dogs in the St. Louis metro area, and the Humane Society of Missouri issued a warning to owners Wednesday.
Coyotes are common throughout Missouri, and cold weather makes food scarce just before their breeding season. The humane society describes the coyotes as reddish- to grayish-brown, with a white belly and throat and black-tipped tails, weighing about 30 pounds.
Coyotes are scared of humans, but they're also highly adaptable and have been seen near populated areas, including St. Louis neighborhoods.
Here's how to keep your pets safe:
1. Coyotes can jump and dig. If your pets are outside, make sure your fence is at least 6 feet high and 6 inches deep.
2. Coyotes are afraid of humans, so clapping and waving can scare them off. Make yourself seem as large as possible.
3. Don't leave pet food outside. If you must leave food for stray cats, leave it only during the day.
4. Secure all trash cans so coyotes don't come hunting for your leftovers.
5. Keep your dog on a leash when walking outside.
6. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on rabies and distemper vaccinations.
7. In an emergency, call the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Hotline at 314-647-4400.
Because if you didn't have enough to worry about, now there are coyote attacks.