Sunday, Apr 21st

Everything You Need To Know About Coyotes

In response to two recent coyote attacks on young girls in Rye, Greenburgh Town Supervisor, Paul Feiner reports that the Greenburgh Police Department has been receiving many calls reporting the sighting of coyotes in Greenburgh. The New York Post reported an additional attack on a 3 year-old girl today.

Feiner has sent out an email with the following information about coyotes gleaned from the N.Y.S. Department of Environmental Conservation website.

Here are some steps you can take to safeguard against coyotes:

  • Do not feed coyotes
  • If you see a coyote, make loud noises, wave your arms, throw sticks and stones and be aggressive.
  • Do not allow your pets to run free.
  • Do not feed pets outside.
  • Make any garbage inaccessible to animals. Eliminate the availability of birdseed. Coyotes are attracted to the concentration of birds and rodents that come to feeders. If you do feed birds, clean up waste seed and spillage.
  • Fence your yard to deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level.
  • Remove brush and tall grass from around your property to reduce protective cover for coyotes
  • Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.

Here are some more facts about coyotes:

Wild animals such as coyotes are protected by laws established by the N.Y.S. Department of Environmental Conservation. The Eastern coyote is firmly established in New York and they live here as an integral part of our ecosystem. People and coyotes can usually coexist if coyotes maintain their natural fear of humans. If you observe a coyote acting aggressively or lingering in an area you should report it to the police. In addition, if a coyote is acting aggressively call the police department. However in most cases there is little a police officer or animal control officer will be able to do other than chase it away from a populated area.

Some coyotes in suburbia have lost their fear of people, which can result in a dangerous situation. Coyotes in residential areas quickly learn to associate food with people. Suburban coyote food such as garbage and pet food is saturated with human odor. If people intentionally feed coyotes their potential for a coyote attack becomes very real.

Potential does exist for coyote attacks however they are extremely rare. On average 650 people are hospitalized and one person killed by dogs each year in New York State. Nationwide, only a handful of coyote attacks occur yearly.

Coyotes and Pets

Of greater concern is the interaction of coyotes with cats or dogs. Do coyotes kill cats? Absolutely, but so do foxes, dogs, bobcats, vehicles, and even great horned owls. Cat owners need to be aware that cats allowed to roam free are at risk. To protect your cat, keep it indoors, or allow it outside only under supervision. Coyotes in some areas appear to become "specialists" at catching and killing cats.

Owners of large and medium sized dogs have little to worry about. Coyotes, with an average weight of 35 pounds know they are overmatched by large dogs and will yield part of their territory (your yard) to the dog. A confrontation may occur between a midsized dog and a coyote. Such confrontations, however, usually do not involve physical contact between the two animals. The dog and coyote usually come to an understanding on whose territory is whose.

Owners of small dogs have cause for concern. The outcome of a confrontation between a small dog and a coyote will depend a lot upon the behavior of the dog. A coyote knows it is physically superior to a small dog and expects the dog to be submissive. Trouble occurs when a small dog does not submit to a coyote. The coyote will discipline the dog to correct its inappropriate behavior. This discipline will continue until the dog submits or is eventually killed. Coyotes view very small as easy prey and they are at risk to be killed.

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