BURLINGTON (CBS) – Police are offering tips on how residents can keep their pets safe after a Burlington family’s 14-year-old dog was snatched by a wild animal.

A Winn Street resident told police that Thursday around 8 p.m. their 9-pound Maltese named Sampson was in the back yard when an animal grabbed it and dragged the dog into the woods.

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A Burlington dog that was snatched by a wild animal. (Family Photo)

Officers searched the edge of the woods but could not find Sampson.

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“This was a very unfortunate situation where a resident lost her beloved pet,” Burlington Police Chief Michael Kent said.

Police said coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and fisher cats can be found in the woods of Burlington and will go after unattended cats and small dogs.

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In an effort to prevent similar situations, residents are reminded to leash pets at all times when they are outdoors. Police also recommend trimming brushy edges of wooded areas, securing garbage, and keeping bird feeder areas clean so as not to attract animals.