Dear Porky and Buddy,
I live out in the country and the past few nights I have been hearing coyotes howling. It sounds like they are just outside my windows sometimes. I have never actually seen one. I just hear them at night and my pets are all in at night. But should I be concerned about one of my pets (I have two cats and a dog) running into one during the day? I try to not to be stupid about the wildlife where I live, but they sound so eerie.
You know, sometimes we make light of questions in an effort to get people to relax and enjoy their pets more with less worry. But we didn’t know much about coyotes so we went straight to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for an answer to your question.
Turns out this is a serious concern and not just for rural dwellers.
So here is what the DEC says about coyotes and pets verbatim:
“Of great concern to many people 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 from many different factors. 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.
Do dog owners need to be concerned about coyotes? The answer is maybe.
Conflicts between dogs and coyotes can happen any time of the year, but are more likely in the months of March and April. It is during this time that coyotes are setting up their denning areas for the soon-to-arrive pups. Coyotes become exceptionally territorial around these den sites in an attempt to create a safe place for their young.
In general, coyotes view other canines (dogs) as a threat. Essentially it comes down to a territorial dispute between your dog and the coyote.
Both believe that your yard is their territory.
Owners of large and medium sized dogs have less to worry about, but should still take precautions.
Coyotes, with an average weight of 40 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 mid-sized dog and a coyote.
Such confrontations, however, usually do not involve physical contact between the two animals, but coyotes may challenge or chase mid-sized dogs.
Owners of small dogs have cause for concern. Small dogs are of greatest risk of being harmed or killed by coyotes. Small dogs are at risk when left unattended in backyards at night, and should be supervised by owners.
Coyotes have attacked and killed small dogs unattended in backyards.
Coyotes may approach small dogs along streets at night near natural areas, even in the presence of dog owners. Be alert of your surroundings and take precautions such as carrying a flashlight or a walking stick to deter coyotes.
While rather uncommon, people that have picked up their small dog to protect them from coyotes have been injured (scratched or bitten) by coyotes.”
So in a word, yes, you need to be careful.
Go to the DEC website www.dec.ny.gov for even more useful information about these interesting but wild animals and how protect not just your pets, but yourself.
On a lighter note – come celebrate all the pleasures of dogs and the pleasures of fall at Dogtoberfest, September 25 at Fallbrook Recreation Center, beginning at 10 a.m.
You can sign up for the 5K-9 Run or Walk at our website at www.oswegohumane.org and sign up to help raise funds for the Humane Society and win prizes.
Not just the race – food and drink, vendors, demos, games, lots of fun family activities!
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Located at 29 W. Seneca St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 2,07-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.