DARIEN, Conn. -- Darien police have received numerous reports of coyotes in the area and are offering tips to residents on how they can stay safe.
Police said residents have reported coyote sightings and some attacks on pets. Coyotes have become more common and occasionally prey on small pets, leading to increased public concern about coyotes attacking people, especially children.
Although some coyotes may exhibit bold behavior near humans, Darien Animal Control Officer Chip Stahl said, "Coyote attacks on humans are extremely rare, however aggressive behavior toward small dogs is common and more prevalent during the breeding season."
The risk of aggression can increase if coyotes are intentionally fed and learn to associate people and homes with food. Police are offering the following tips on how to stay safe, courtesy of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Wildlife Division:
- Do not allow pets to run free. Keep cats indoors, particularly at night, and small dogs on a leash or under close supervision.
- Installation of a kennel or coyote-proof fencing is a long-term solution for protecting pets. 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 feeds, pet food 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, such as shouting or using an air horn, or acting aggressively, such as waving your arms, throwing sticks or spraying with a hose.
- Be aware of any coyote behaving abnormally or exhibiting unusually bold behavior, such as approaching people for food, attacking leashed pets that are with their owners, stalking children, or chasing joggers or bikers. 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.
To report coyote sightings in Darien, contact the Darien Animal Control Officer at 203-662-5345 or DEP Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011. To report animals that are behaving abnormally or are posing an immediate public threat in Darien, contact the Darien Police Department at 203-662-5300 or DEP Emergency Dispatch Office (24 hours) at 860-424-3333.
Darien Animal Control will not trap or remove a coyote based simply on a sighting. contact DEP Wildlife Division for more information on coyotes or other wildlife problems.
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