CHICAGO (AP) — Cook County officials want pet owners to know that coyotes this time a year are both wily and hungry.

In a news release, the county says more than 1,500 coyotes reside around the county. It says the springtime mating and whelping can give coyotes an appetite that they may seek to satisfy by hunting cats or dogs.

The county urges people to keep dogs on a short leash and watch them closely when they are in yards because coyotes can easily climb a fence and snatch them in seconds.

Pet owners should also alternate routines because coyotes are smart enough to figure those routines out and then pounce when pets are let outside or taken for walks.

More From WROK 1440 AM / 96.1 FM