Learning to live with coyotes

This week, Monroe officials asked residents to report sightings of coyotes so they could track down where the animals’ dens are located.

The warning came after a pair of coyotes was seen cutting through a Monroe’s couple’s backyard.

Earlier this week, a small dog in Shelton had to be euthanized after it was attacked by a coyote. It was the latest in a series of attacks that claimed the lives of cats and small dogs.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says the coyote population in the state has expanded greatly in the last 20 years. At least 3,000 of the wild beasts roam the woods and backyards of Connecticut.

DEEP says the risk of humans being attacked by a coyote is extremely low, but could increase if people feed  them.

With the number of coyotes steadily increasing in Connecticut, the DEEP offers these tips on preventing conflicts with coyotes:

  • DO NOT allow pets to run free! Keep cats indoors, particularly at night, and small dogs on a leash or under close supervision at all times. The installation of a kennel or coyote-proof fencing is a long-term solution for protecting pets. A variety of livestock fencing and small animal pen designs can protect farm animals.
  • NEVER feed coyotes! DO NOT place food out for any mammals. Clean up bird seed below feeders, pet foods, and fallen fruit. Secure garbage and compost in animal proof containers.
  • Always walk dogs on a leash. If approached by a coyote while walking your dog, keep the dog under control and calmly leave the area. DO NOT run or turn your back. Coyotes are territorial and many reports of bold coyotes visiting yards, howling, or threatening larger dogs can often be attributed to this territorial behavior.
  • Attempt to frighten away coyotes by making loud noises (e.g., shouting, air horn) and acting aggressively (e.g., waving your arms, throwing sticks, spraying with a hose).
  • Be aware of any coyote behaving abnormally or exhibiting unusually bold behavior (e.g., approaching people for food, attacking leashed pets that are with their owners, stalking children, chasing joggers or bikers, etc.)  and report these incidents to authorities immediately.
  • Be aware of and report any coyotes exhibiting behavior indicative of rabies, such as staggering, seizures, and extreme lethargy. Daytime activity is not uncommon and does not necessarily indicate rabies.
  • Teach children to recognize coyotes and to go inside the house (do not run) or climb up on a swing or deck and yell if they are approached.
  • Close off crawl spaces under porches and sheds that coyotes or other animals may use.
  • Educate your neighbors. Ask them to follow these same steps.
  • Regulated hunting and trapping may be used to remove problem coyotes in areas where it is safe and legal to do so
  • Contact the DEP Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011 for more information on coyotes or other wildlife problems.
Jim Shay