WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– With the summer months here, concerns are high for your outdoor pets. Not only do you have to worry about things like ticks and Lyme disease but you also have to keep a look out for animals like coyotes, bobcats and fisher cats.
You don’t live close to the woods without expecting to see some wildlife. But some of that wildlife are predators and some of your pets are prey.
That’s what happened to a Waterford woman who recently lost one of her two dogs minutes after she let them out.
“Went back inside to get a cup of coffee and when she came out something came out of the woods and grabbed her chihuahua and took off with it,” said Robert Yuchniuk, Waterford Animal Control Officer.
“It’s frightening yeah,” said Marie Briggs, Dog Owner.
Marie Briggs keeps Emmy close at all times.
“You don’t want her off the leash because if she does come in contact with another animal that wants to fight or a coyote, you got to have her in your hand’s reach,” said Briggs.
Waterford’s animal control officers says to keep pets safe you need to:
- Understand your pets are part of the food chain.
- Keep them close – especially at dusk, night, and dawn.
- Go outside with them.
- Keep them on a leash.
- You also want to put up a solid fence – electric fences don’t help keep predators out.
- At night put lights on and make noise before you go out.
“I know people keep a tin can with some rocks in it and they shake that. That noise should startle the animals at least to give them pause before they come into your yard and try to take your pets,” said Yuchniuk.
If you’re dog is friendly like Emmy, you may want to keep it on a really tight leash.
“You take your dogs out and he’s 30 yards away from you, that’s close enough for a coyote to dart in grab him and be gone before you can react,” said Yuchniuk.
Even bigger dogs could become prey. That’s because coyotes are territorial and are pack animals so they may not want to eat bigger dogs but they may want to kill them to protect their territory.
The following is a few things you should know about coyotes:
- They are generally nocturnal and rarely seen.
- They tend to be most active at dusk and dawn so you should avoid taking your pets out during those times.
- They usually look for smaller prey so its important to keep your cats inside.
- They’re normally afraid of people.
- If they’re not afraid of you and running away that could mean that they’re ‘rabid’.
- If you do see a coyote, stay calm and don’t be alarmed.
- Make yourself as large as you can.
- Make loud noises by shouting or yelling at the animal or even clapping your hands.
- If you have to throw a rock or a stick at it but try not to hurt it.
- And of course never feed or leave food outside for a coyote.
- If you think you have some in your neighborhood, secure your garbage cans.