This time of year, you’re likely to see more and more stories about coyotes stalking, or even killing, cats and small dogs. As winter drags on, coyotes’ preferred prey (rodents and rabbits) become scarce and they’re more likely to begin looking toward pets as possible prey.
Killing a coyote will only make the situation more dangerous for pets in your neighborhood. The loss of one member of a family will upset the balance of the local coyote community. If an experienced adult is killed, their pups of the year, who are just beginning to seek independence, will become hungry and desperate. Suitors from other areas may may move in to court the coyote’s widowed mate. This will cause a rush of competition that ultimately puts pets in greater danger.
Fortunately, this doesn’t mean your pets have to become coyote food. There are many humane ways to keep your pets safe from coyotes. Cats should always be kept either indoors or in a secure, escape-proof enclosure. Small dogs are best kept on leashes or closely supervised at all times. A fenced yard can be secured against coyotes with products like coyote rollers and electricity.
You can also help to dissuade coyotes from coming too close to your home by eliminating anything that that may have attracted them there. Be sure to keep your trash cans secured, and to never leave pet food outside.
We all have to share our planet with wildlife, and we can peacefully coexist with coyotes and other predators. Please choose humane options to protect your pets, for both their sake and wildlife’s!