Chance Morsey and Jennifer Goeller own two Jack Russell terriers, Hercules and Pickles. Pickles is all energy, a real feisty Jack, who lives on a leash, mostly.
Hercules is older and he likes to nap up by the property line in the sunshine behind 33 Tamanny Trail. Hercules didn't need a leash until Aug. 17 at about 5 p.m., when he was attacked by a coyote.
Not just any coyote. Neighbors described this as the German Sheperd of coyotes. It had Hercules by the head and may have been carrying him into the woods for dinner when the struggling dog and the dog-napping coyote reached the invisible fence.
"He was wearing his collar," Chance Morsey said, and he smiled at the notion that saved the dog's life. Maybe the collar lit up Hercules and Wile E. Coyote when they reached the back fence.
The first thing Chance knew of this attack was seeing Hercules running around the house to the front where Chance was standing with Pickles. Hercules was bleeding from the head, and once the vet shaved his cuts, it showed roughly 16 puncture wounds. The vet called it a coyote attack, and a neighbor who witnessed the attack agreed.
Hercules was the lucky victim along Tamanny trail.
The coyote killed a pit bull in front of its owner at 23 Tamanny Trail, and it killed two cats at 16 Tamanny Trail.
Titan and Tigger, two domestic short-hair cats were killed at 16 Tamanny Trail, said Amanda Mottola, who grew up at the house, which her grandfather owned for 30 years. "It's very upsetting."
"I've been on the phone all day about this," said Mottola. She called the Danbury Police, who directed her to the city's Canine Control unit, which directed her to the state DEEP.
"I had four cats and now I'm down to two. I saw the coyote this morning. It was walking on the edge of the lawn with a small animal in its mouth. I think it was a rabbit."
The solution, Mottola heard, was trapping the coyote. The residents would need a permit, and the state DEEP would have to approve of the site and traps. The neighbors would have to pay for the traps. The neighborhood is all single family homes set near each other with front, side and back yards. Along with its several side roads, each road ends in a cul de sac.
Mottola's other two cats, Bella and Serenity, have been sticking close to the house for the last few days. Mottola tries to get them inside by about 4 p.m. to avoid another loss. She keeps her terrier mix Pebbles on a leash near the front door.
"I talked to the DEP. They said the coyote now thinks this is its territory. It feels comfortable here," Mottola said. Neighbors are circulating a leaflet that warns them about the coyote and encourages them to make noise if they see it to make it uncomfortable.
"We live in a really peaceful neighborhood. This is ridiculous."
Efforts to reach someone at DEEP's wildlife division were unsuccessful Tuesday.