There is a sign at the dog park that coyotes have been spotted near Garrison in Dunedin. Some of you might ask why it is important that people see this sign.
Coyotes will eat just about anything, but some do prey on small animals, which could be your dog or cat. I have one friend who was walking his dog when it was a pup and was approached by two coyotes. One came up on each side of him trying to get the pup.
According to a Pinellas County web page on coyotes, these wild animals weigh about 24-37 pounds, and are losing their fear of humans. This makes it much more difficult to defend our domesticated animals against them.
People need to be more aware of coyotes and take responsibility for protecting their pets. Some people are lucky enough to have a fence where they can let their dogs roam in the yard unsupervised. This is not a good idea as the coyotes can get into the area. One may think that a fence is a good enough barrier for the separation.
I know many dogs that dig under a fence or scale the top of it to get out. A coyote is nothing more than a type of dog, and if it is hungry, I am sure that it can figure a way to get through your fence.
Here are some tips for keeping your pets safe from coyotes:
1. Never leave animal food or trash outdoor. This is easy food to the coyotes, and they will never leave.
2. Keep brush cleaned up around your home to reduce the cover for coyotes.
3. Carry some sort of protection when walking at dawn and dusk (a coyote's feeding time). The protection may be a stick, whistle, etc.
4. Do not use a retractable leash during this time either, as your dog will be way ahead, and the coyote can have the dog before you know it.
5. Make sure you are supervising your animal, and do not allow your pet to roam at dawn or dusk without supervision.
6. If you come into contact with a coyote, use negative reinforcement such as a loud noise, yelling, water botttle mixed with vinger to spray or an air horn.
If you see coyotes, you can report the sighting online to Pinellas County.
I hope this brings awareness to you and your neighbors to keep all of your pets safe.
Learn More about Coyotes
Check out the series of stories Patch published about coyotes earlier this year.