The scenario isn't exactly "lions and tigers and bears - oh my" from "The Wizard of Oz." But in Old Colorado City these days, it's awfully close.
Pet owners on the West Side of Colorado Springs are becoming increasingly aware of the need to keep their beloved pets safe from predators.
Photographs of a huge bobcat have circulated repeatedly on nextdoor.com - with one couple warning that the wild feline tried to come after their good-sized Labrador retriever.
As the howls of serenading coyotes are heard at night, residents of West Kiowa Street are reminded of the lamentable loss of Morris, a formerly feral orange cat who was featured in The Gazette on Dec. 26, 2015, for having become the Romeo of his block, wooing any woman who happened by.
Morris is thought to have been carried off by one of those coyotes in the wee hours of Jan. 21. Rest in peace, Morris.
Now Great Horned Owls appear to be proliferating around Promontory Point Open Space, productively clearing the area of rodents but also posing a threat to kittens, puppies and other small pets.
Black bears aren't uncommon either. In August 2015, Colorado Springs police officers spotted a cub at 14th and Kiowa streets about 5 a.m., her head stuck in a plastic tub of protein powder. They loaded her into their patrol car, and state wildlife officers later sedated her, removed the plastic tub, tagged and released her.
Last June, a bear ambled across a road in nearby Garden of the Gods during the busy Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run. It appeared to wait for a gap in the crowd of runners before finally crossing the road, witnesses said.
So West Side animal lovers, beware. As springtime weather energizes the wildlife, you'd be wise to make sure your pets are indoors once the sun sets.