BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — Police are warning pet owners about a series of coyote attacks in one south metro community.

In the last few weeks, police say six small dogs were attacked. Five of them died.

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This all happened within a five-mile stretch in southwest Bloomington, near the Minnesota River Valley.

Jim Wolf, who lives in the area, says he gets many unwelcome visitors.

“At night, like 3 or 4 in the morning, you can hear the howling,” he said Monday, talking about the coyotes.

While he hears them, he seldom sees them.

Bob Fashingbauer, of the Department of Natural Resources, says adult coyotes weigh about 30 pounds, and showed a stuffed coyote to reporters. They are smaller than people think.

“We are going to have to learn to adapt to the coyotes,” he said.

He says in the last 10 years, the coyote population has steadily increased, and as more residential areas pop up across the state, coyotes have made themselves at home.

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“They don’t mind living among houses,” Fashingbauer said. “Neighborhoods have everything they need: food, water…pet dishes that are left out overnight.”

He says the best thing to do is to remove food sources. Coyotes travel in packs or alone, targeting small dogs and cats, although they eat mostly insects and small rodents.

Fashingbauer said killing 70 percent of the population every year wouldn’t really help the issue. Coyotes have the ability to reproduce quickly.

Wolf says he’s lived in his house for 45 years. Lately, the coyote problem is so bad he won’t even dogsit.

“Unless you come out on a leash with [the dogs] when they do their business, it would be just way too risky,” he said.

The DNR says pet owners should be outside with their small pets and make loud noises and clap their hands if a coyote is nearby.

“They are skitterish,” Wolf said. “They take off right away, but they are around.”

Bloomington police say they are working with a wildlife expert on how best to stop the coyote problem. They are meeting with the city council and sending out flyers to people in area.

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In the meantime, residents in Bloomington are asked to call animal control if a coyote is encountered.