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After a coyote killed a family’s dog in Arlington on Friday, police and animal control officials warned residents to be watchful of small children and pets who spend time outdoors.

The dog, a West Highland Terrier, was in the family’s backyard at around 7 a.m. when the coyote attacked. The family’s property backs up to the Menotomy Rocks Park where coyotes are known to reside, Arlington police said in a statement.

Animal control officer Kathryn Kozikowski said in a statement that last years’ mild winter resulted in a greater supply of food for coyotes, which increased their population.

To prevent attacks, officials advised residents to keep pets on a leash at all times, secure garbage cans with tight-fitting lids, and make sure grill areas and bird feeders are clear of food scraps.


“This was an extremely unfortunate incident where a family lost their beloved pet,” Police Chief Frederick Ryan said. “While residents should not live in fear of coyotes, we do advise that those with small children and animals be vigilant while outdoors.”

Samantha Gross can be reached at samantha.gross@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @samanthajgross