By Don Ford

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – A San Francisco couple is heartbroken after their beloved dog was snatched from the steps of their home over the weekend by coyote as they watched helplessly.

The dog was later found dead nearby.

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Bella, a Shih Tzu killed by coyote in SF (CBS)

The coyote attack happened at in the city’s Ingleside neighborhood on Sunday, three miles east of Lake Merced near Monterey Boulevard.

The 13-year-old dog — Shih Tzu named Bella — was taken by the coyote as the dog and her owner returned home.

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Bella’s owner Jodi, who was still too upset to speak on camera, said the coyote raced up the front steps and grabbed her dog while she was getting her keys to enter her house

Jodi said the coyote attack was swift and completely unexpected. Once the coyote had her small dog firmly in its jaws, it took off down the side of the house, jumped over a fence and ran down an alley.

That was where Jodi and her husband later found Bella’s body.

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Folks were shocked by the attack, but neighbor Randy Frakes said coyotes in the neighborhood are nothing new.

“My wife saw one in the middle of the day walking down Aptos over here,” said Frakes. “And it walked along Darian following us and then stopped in the middle of the intersection so I turned around and challenged it.”

Neighbors believe the coyotes may be coming from nearby Stern Grove. San Francisco Animal Care and Control officials believe there are approximately 50 to 100 coyotes now living in the city.

While this attack is still being investigated, the nature of the attack so close to a home is different.

“For a coyote to come up on a porch is definitely not a good thing,” said Virginia Donohue, the Executive Director SF Animal Care and Control.

Meanwhile back on Aptos Street, folks are concerned

“Oh boy, I mean, little dogs? Definitely keep a close eye on them at night,” said neighbor Bill Hail. “I can’t imagine here in this neighborhood though.”

“It was a good dog. It would come up to you all happy, would wag its butt more than its tail!” said Brandon Hail.

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Local officials are working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for guidance on how to deal with the coyote situation.