LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Keeping the distance between coyotes and your pets. It's the time of the year when coyotes are on the prowl.
"He's my life," said Jennifer Boccia. "I love him, just like my son."
Boccia said she adores her one-year-old Wheaton terrier, Oscar, like a child. She also watches over him carefully.
"I keep him on a leash anytime I go out,” she said. "I come to the park here to keep him safe."
It's an eagle-eyed approach she takes so her dog doesn't run far and encounter potential dangers such as coyotes.
RELATED STORY: Coyote attack in Las Vegas raises concerns over pet safety
At the Sun City Animal Hospital in Summerlin, they're treating a number of dogs injured in coyote attacks recently and the Nevada Department of Wildlife confirms calls are up. It's the time of year coyotes are mating.
"Generally, we'll see coyotes in small groups rather than their typical behavior here which is solitary,” said Lauren MacLeod, urban wildlife coordinator with the department.
Wildlife officials say this happens during the Summer and Fall. Coyotes are more often seen in neighborhoods near open deserts or foothills. They say coyotes will enter neighborhoods to find water and prey.
"When they come across a lush golf course with green grass and sprinkler systems and rabbits and rodents, it's like a paradise for them,” MacLeod said.
They're warning pet owners to keep pets on a leash and installing barriers like "coyote rollers."
"It does definitely help to keep coyotes out of your yard space if you're able to install one,” she said.
Boccia says she's following the advice as she knows her dog would not know what to do if a coyote appeared.
"My dog is super friendly, and he would just look at a coyote as another dog and try to play,” she said.
Wildlife officials also say if you do see a coyote in your neighborhood, don't be afraid to "haze." Meaning, scaring it off by shouting or using a water hose, so it doesn't get used to being in the area. But remember, coyotes are part of our desert environment and live here too.