Several Coyote Attacks on Pets Reported - Madison365

Several Coyote Attacks on Pets Reported - Madison365

Several Coyote Attacks on Pets Reported - Madison365

There have been several reports of coyote attacks on pets this summer. Most have involved smaller dogs left unattended by their owners in the backyard. The mere presence of coyotes can be unnerving or frightening for people unused to coyotes, and particularly upsetting to those whose pets have been attacked and killed. However, they are more afraid of you than you are of them.

Coyotes are predators that primarily feed on small rodents and rabbits, making them useful members of the food chain. While they will eat anything they can find, including fruit, vegetables and insects, from the coyote's point of view, a small dog or cat is not that different from the other small animals it includes in its diet.

The question is what can we do about this problem? The answers are quite limited in scope. Some have called for the organized hunting of coyotes. The DNR and other coyote specialists point out that while landowners do have the option of trying to kill a few problem coyotes; there is no way to get rid of all the coyotes in the area. In fact experience has shown that when coyote social structure is disrupted by hunting, the remaining coyotes respond by increasing the number of breeding pairs and litter size resulting in an increase in the population - clearly an undesirable and unintended consequence.

Here are some effective measures you can take to protect your pets against coyote attacks

Use scare tactics when you see them; yell and make loud noises or throw things
◆ Clean up fallen fruit and bird seed that attract coyote prey animals ◆ Do not leave smaller pets outside unattended, either on or off a leash. Small toy or miniature breeds are particularly vulnerable - always walk your dog on a leash
◆ If your dog stays outside, it is safe to kennel outdoor with a solid bottom and secure top.

We are indeed fortunate to live in an area rich in biodiversity and wildlife, although that benefit is very bleak when we lose a cherished pet to a predator. The good news is that such losses are almost completely preventable as long as we make a few changes to keep our pets safe and secure.

Several Coyote Attacks on Pets Reported - Madison365
Several Coyote Attacks on Pets Reported - Madison365

MADISON - October 19, 2015 - Several pet coyote attacks have been reported this summer. Many of the victims were small dogs left alone by their owners.

Coyotes are predators that feed mainly on small rodents and rabbits, thus making them useful members of the natural food chain. Although they eat anything they can find, including fruits, legumes and insects, from a coyote's point of view, a small dog or cat is not that different from the other animals in their diet.

What we can ask ourselves is: what can we do with this problem? The possibilities of doing something are quite limited. Some have asked that a coyote hunt be organized. The specialists of the Dept. Natural Resources (DNR) and other experts in coyotes point out that even though a landowner has the option of killing some problematic coyotes; it will not be possible to remove all coyotes from the area. In addition, experience has shown that when the social structure of coyotes is disturbed by hunting, the remaining coyotes usually respond by increasing the number of breeding pairs and the size of their coats causing an increase in their population - clearly unexpected and undesirable consequences .

Normally, we are accustomed to taking similar measures against the challenges and inconveniences of other more common types of wild animals. When a raccoon "attacks" the garbage cans, we take steps to ensure it better. When rabbits "attack" our flowers or orchards, we build a rabbit-proof fence to keep them outside. When coyotes hunt animals, we make sure our pets do not end up at lunch.

We are truly fortunate to live in an area rich in biodiversity and wildlife, although that benefit can be devastating if we lose a pet wanted by a predator . The good thing is that this situation can be avoided as long as we make small changes to make sure our pets and homes are safe and secure.

For more information on dealing with wild animals, see our Spanish page here

For specific information on coyotes see here

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