ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A Stateline family is warning other pet owners after their dog was taken by two coyotes in its own front yard.
It was a normal night at this Roscoe home. Like most pet owners, Rick and Carla Schultz let their two dogs, Buddy and Riley, out before bed, but things quickly took a turn for the worse.
"I let buddy outside and within twenty seconds two coyotes picked him up and ran off with him,” says Rick Schultz.
Rick and Carla say Buddy was in his own yard when the two coyotes grabbed him and took him behind the two houses across the street, and he was gone.
The couple spent hours searching for buddy, about to call it a night when a neighbor called Carla with the news they'd been waiting for.
"I just hollered, he's alive. They found him alive,” says Carla Schultz.
"To find out that he was still alive was unbelievable,” says Rick Schultz.
Buddy was in bad shape, suffering from broken ribs, a punctured lung, and a broken vertebrae. The Schultz's then rushed their dog to an animal hospital in Madsion.
“We couldn't abandon buddy. He had fought so hard to stay alive. So, we told them to go ahead and do what needed to be done,” says Carla Schultz.
After five hours of surgery, Buddy made it out alive.
“This is the first incident that we've heard of, of a coyote running off with a dog,” says DNR officer Tom Schoonhoven.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says they get two to three phone calls a week about coyotes roaming neighborhoods in Winnebago County.
“If people feed their pets indoors, keep an eye on them, obey the leash laws, don't let them out of their sight, there won't be a problem with that.”
The DNR says as more homes are built, coyotes habitats are destroyed forcing them into neighborhoods and looking for food; sometimes our pets.
The Schultz's say they'll be on the lookout for coyotes in their subdivision as buddy fights for his life.
"The doctors are amazed he's recovering as he is,” says Rick Schultz.
“Buddy's going to be back home in a few days. He's a strong little dog,” says Carla Schultz.
If no set-backs happen, Rick and Carla Schultz expect their best friend to be home in four to five days.