John Payan said he had a close encounter with a coyote moments before it snatched his cat off his front porch in the La Sierra neighborhood.
"They're brave. They're coming right to my front door," Payan said. "I can tell you it came 3 feet from me. I can tell you the color of its eyes, they're brown eyes. I can tell you the length of its teeth because he was growling at me."
Payan was able to get away, but his cat, "Cheeto," was not so lucky. Payan said he called the Riverside County Department of Animal Services for help but learned there is little they can do.
"One of the things we try to remind our constituents about is that coyotes are wildlife, and this is a state Fish and Game matter," said John Welsh of the RCDAS. "The coyotes where here first. They've been here forever."
Residents like JR Hernandez, who lives next-door to Payan, is worried. He no longer lets his 2-year-old grandson play outdoors and keeps his Chihuahua under similar lock and key.
"Right now we have no more rabbits, no more jackrabbits out here," Hernandez said. "Now (the coyotes) are starting to take the dogs, starting to take our cats."
The lack of natural prey for the coyotes may have something to do with the weather.
"We suspect it has to do with such a dry winter, and less rains mean grassland, and less grassland means less food sources for the coyotes," Welsh said.
For now, Payan is taking every precaution he can when he lets his other three dogs out.
"If I do have to come out with them, I usually have the shovel in my hand or rocks just in case, but I wouldn't stand a chance if a coyote runs and grabs one of them," Payan said.
Welsh said coyotes are shrewd animals. He recommends that pet owners not leave pet food or water bowls outdoors.