Coyote took family dog, but they can't build a fence to prevent it

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SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) - A homeowner is looking for solutions after his dog, Bella, was lost to a coyote.

Bella, lost to a coyote in Wingfield Springs.

Bill Green, his wife and their four small dogs moved into their home in the Wingfield Hills area of Spanish Springs about a year ago.

Bill works at home and when he came downstairs one day last week at about noon, Bella, a 12-year-old miniature pinscher, wanted out in the back yard.

Minutes later he went to call her and discovered she was gone. He got on his bike and went looking along the concrete path that winds past his and other backyards to a natural area. There, he encountered a large coyote holding something in its mouth.

"And I chased it and when he dropped it on the concrete pathway, it was the front half of Bella."

Any pet owner can appreciate his feeling of shock and horror.

"We have no kids. She was our child."

Grief is giving way to frustration.

If you look around this Wingfield Hills neighborhood, you see well-kept homes, manicured yards, standards enforced by a homeowner's association.

You'll also see stout fences providing privacy and security. You'll see the same fencing on the sides of Bill's backyard. But--at the back--something different. Iron bars topped by a wooden two by two, barely 42 inches tall. Easy for an intruder, animal or otherwise to see through, and tragically for Bill and his wife, an easy leap for a coyote.

Ask the Department of Wildlife how to protect your pets from coyotes and the first thing they will suggest is a fence at least six feet tall.

But Bill's not allowed to build anything more substantial than what you see. His backyard faces a common area, really just a concrete pathway, a drainage ditch, a few trees and bare dirt.

"It was kind of a nice thing being able to see the beauty of the neighborhood, but within a week I realized how many coyotes were moving through at night."

He's been told that low fence is a city requirement. We got the same answer when we called the homeowner's association. That's not quite true. The view fencing--it's called--was included in the design submitted by the original developer and approved by the city.

"The master developer presented the handbook to us and we approved that handbook," explains Sparks city spokeswoman Julie Duewel.

To be clear it's not a requirement the city came up with.

"No, it's a master plan from the master developer."

It's unlikely those who wrote that handbook and envisioned this so-called common area ever considered coyotes as part of the plan. The good news is, it can be changed.

"But it can't be just one person coming forward. We need a consensus that this is what they'd like to do."

With reports of other pets disappearing, that may happen.

"My heart goes out to anyone who's lost a pet like this," says Green, "but I never want to see what I saw again."

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019