A dog was recently captured and killed by a coyote in the Aspen area. Pitkin County’s Animal Welfare Commissioner is warning pet owners not to keep animals outside, especially at night.

An Aspen resident who lives near Mollie Gibson Park at the foot of Smuggler Mountain said she left her Maltese dog outside in her fenced yard around 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 23. A coyote jumped over the fence, grabbed him and ran away, Baker said.

“My suggestion to people is if you let your dog out at night, please stay outside (with it),” Pitkin County’s ReRe Baker said Friday. “Even if (the yard) is fenced in, it won’t stop a mountain lion or coyote from taking it in.”

If residents don’t want to stay outside in the cold while a pet goes to the bathroom at night, she suggested putting the animal on a short leash and monitoring it from a window. Some people even keep their cats on a leash at night, Baker said.

“That’s not unusual,” she said. ‚ÄúThis is coyote country. (When an animal is killed) it is just awful for a pet owner and for the animal itself. It really is a tragedy. “

Baker said she has never heard of other dogs caught this winter, although this is rare.

Snowmass Village Police Chief Brian Olson said the same thing happens in this area from time to time, although he hadn’t heard of similar episodes this winter.

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