People concerned after video shows coyote playing with dog in Tempe neighborhood

UPDATE: The Arizona Game and Fish Department says they were forced to put down the coyote that was caught on camera playing with a dog in a Tempe neighborhood. Wildlife officials were called out to the area on Monday after a coyote was seen following a woman in the same neighborhood and had nipped at another person's pant leg hours earlier. The agency says when it becomes a public safety issue, they have no choice in the matter.

Our original story is below:

TEMPE, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- A Tempe resident catches her neighbor's dog making friends with, of all animals, a coyote, which raised some concerns with some people.

In the video, you can hear Cassandra Collett-Ericksen calling to her neighbor's dog, as she was about to take her twin babies out for a stroll Saturday morning.

"Just about to open the gate and I saw a couple of dogs running around," said Collett-Ericksen.

One of the animals was a wild coyote running around and playing with the dog.

"They looked like they were having a great time," said Collett-Ericksen.

The neighborhood where the video was taken is located near the Shalimar Golf Course in Tempe.

"I've been here five years, and I've never seen a coyote like that, just hanging around and playing," said Collett-Ericksen. In the video, the coyote seemed to have been very close to Collett-Ericksen at one point. She said it was within arm's length.

"I just kept on shooting," said Collett-Ericksen. "I didn't want to move quickly. I just tried to stay cool. It made me nervous, I didn't want to be skittish either."

At first glance, it does seem nice seeing different animals being friends, but some folks online say the coyote may be luring the dog to its pack to hunt the dog down. Expert, however, say that's most likely not the case.

"Our first response was this was a coyote that's been habituated," said Amy Burnett with Arizona Game and Fish. "That's our word for being used to being around people and dogs. Most likely this coyote has been fed by someone in the neighborhood."

Burnett says it's been seen before.

"It's not necessarily a luring situation, as much as a playful situation," said Burnett, who went on to say there have been other reports in that neighborhood of coyotes being a little too friendly with humans and even following them around, which is actually very dangerous.

"When animals lose their natural fear of people, we may think it's a positive thing, that comfort level turns into a possible nip," said Burnett.

If you see your dog playing with a wild animal like a coyote, try to make noises to scare the coyote away and bring your dog home. Also, if you see someone feeding wild or stray animals, you can also report that person to the Operation Game Thief hotline and remain anonymous.