by Adam Ghassemi
ANTIOCH, Tenn. – When you talk to Sherrie Johnson you can tell she loves her dogs, especially her four-year-old Miniature Yorkshire Terrier "Gigi".
"She loved to smile,” Johnson said. "Every afternoon when I'd come home and in the mornings when we wake up she'd smile and show her little teeth."
That’s why Wednesday morning was so traumatic.
She’s always been afraid of hawks or coyotes attacking Gigi, and even stated that fear just before opening her door around 4:30 a.m. to let her dogs outside. Gigi normally uses puppy pads, but wanted to follow the others out Wednesday.
Seconds later Johnson's fear came true.
The other dogs went out and immediately come back, but Gigi took a few extra moments.
"I saw something out of my peripheral vision, and when I looked I saw it was a coyote,” she said. “Within 20 seconds this coyote came, grabbed her and was gone.”
Johnson ran after it, but it was too late. 4 lb.Gigi was screaming as the coyote carried her away.
"It was the most devastating, horrible sound and vision. I can't get it out of my mind,” she said.
Johnson and her fiancé believe the coyote was headed to a wooded area a few streets away from their home.
Coyotes have been causing problems in Music City neighborhoods for decades. Johnson says she knows of neighborhood cats that have come up missing, but worried Gigi is only the next step to something much worse.
"It's devastating that I lost my little Gigi, but just the thought of one carrying away a child like what I witnessed this morning. It would be a real tragedy,” she said.
A spokesman with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency said there are simple things you can do to stop coyotes. That includes never putting your pet’s food outside, staying close to small dogs when they are out and trapping coyotes that pose a problem.
MORE INFO: http://www.tn.gov/twra/coyote.html
Johnson said she'll only let her other dogs out in her fenced-in backyard.