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ST. LOUIS COUNTY – A south St. Louis County family's dog has been killed by a coyote.

Dan Zarlenga with the Missouri Department of Conservation says a Maltese dog living in Oakville was killed Thursday night. He says there have been numerous reports recently of coyote sightings in the Oakville area.

Zarlenga says it's not rare for coyotes to kill small dogs or cats, and coyotes are very common in the suburban St. Louis landscape, because they adapt well to areas with dense human populations. Small dogs and cats should not be left outside at night unsupervised. A tall fence around a yard can also be an effective deterrent for coyotes.

Trash can also attract coyotes looking for food.

If you see a coyote, make a lot of noise by clapping, banging pots and pans, and yelling at it. There have been no reports of coyotes attacking humans in Missouri.

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