SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Sullivan’s Island officials are warning residents and visitors of coyotes after several recent dog attacks.

“We do not take our dogs off of the leash until we are on the beach, because of that. It’s clearly marked that there’s coyotes in the area,” said Kathy McKee, who lives in Mount Pleasant.

Coyotes are believed to have been on Sullivan’s Island for the last 10-12 years, but lately they’re becoming more noticeable. Town Administrator Andy Benke said there were five dog attacks in August.

“In the month of August, the coyotes have seemed to have a greater presence. They’ve been seen out on the beach and seem to be less intimidated by humans and there have been more interactions with dogs and humans. No humans have been bitten, but unfortunately last week we lost a dog,” Benke said.

It was broad daylight when Benke said the small dog was snatched by a coyote on the beach.

“You know, we’ve taken up a lot of their space and I feel really bad for the owners of the dogs that were attacked. Its something that we worry about when we take our dogs out, how to keep them safe,” said Jamie McKee.

Benke said the town has increased patrol and has put out more traps. They’re also planning to add more signage.

Officials advise people to use caution at night and in the early morning hours when the animals are most active. They said pets should be kept on a leash until arriving to the beach. They should not be left unattended at night.

Anyone who sees a coyote is encouraged by officials to make a lot of noise to scare it off and to call the Sullivan’s Island Police Department to report the sighting. They can be reached at 843-743-7200.