DARIEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – A recent coyote attack involving a dog in Darien, Conn., has pet owners on alert.

As WCBS 880’s Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported, coyote attacks on pets in the backyard are more prevalent during the late winter and early spring. The coyotes don’t hibernate, they’re hungry and on the hunt.

Dr. Charles Duffy, 0f the Norwalk Animal Hospital, said at night, dogs need to be on a leash when let out and even then, it’s best to keep a very close watch.

“These coyotes have gotten much more brazen and they will come out of the woods. They’ll be watching, they’ll hear a small dog bark and they’ll come out and they can grab them as quickly as…more quickly than you could do anything about it,” he said.

More: Information on rabies | CDC | 5 Things You May Not Know About Rabies

Duffy said it’s vital to keep your pet up-to-date on rabies shots.

Coyotes ate potentially rabid animals and even if an unvaccinated pet should survive an attack, that cat or dog would have to be quarantined for six months.

Recently, a coyote in Saddle River, New Jersey, tested positive for rabies.