A dog killed by a coyote -- the fifth one in that many months -- has urging residents to take extra precautions when letting their family pets outside.
The most recent incident took place on June 6 when a Mountain Laurel Road resident let her beagle outside and found it dead in her front yard shortly after, Animal Control Officer Paul Miller said. The dog suffered injuries consistent with a coyote attack, he noted.
According to a release Miller provided, this is the fifth such attack in that area of town in the last five months. The other incidents have taken place on:
- Hillbrook Lane
- Lindamir Lane
- Richard Place
- Galloping Hill Road (2)
While the deadly coyote attacks reported have been in that area, Miller said the need for extra vigilance and precaution applies to all residents.
"They're opportunity feeders," he said of coyotes, noting that they can smell a food source from as far as a mile away. “That’s all they’re thinking about is food, food, food.”
And apparently they'll eat just about anything. One was reportedly eating candy that a kid had dropped on Summerset Road, Miller said.
While the presence of coyotes is nothing new for Fairfield, the number of attacks is something Miller said he hasn't seen a while. As such, he said pet owners should take a few steps to ensure the safety of their animals.
- Go out with them, especially at night
- Keep them on a leash
The reasoning behind these tips: no dogs have been attacked when a human was present, Miller said.
The rise in attacks being reported could be related to the fact that coyotes have pups during this time of year and mom is teaching them how to hunt. Eastern coyotes, the ones in our area, can grow to about 50 pounds, but look bigger with their fur coat, Miller said.
What's the Town Doing? What Can You Do?
Because of the frequency of the attacks, Animal Control has been in contact with the state Department of Enery and Environmental Protection's Wildlife Division to discuss options to deal with the coyotes. “Right now it’s still a fact finding thing,” Miller said.
The DEEP does regulate some hunting and trapping of coyotes in serious situations. "It’s one of the conversations we’re having,” Miller said, stressing that those talks are in the early stages and all options are still on the table.
Further, he said, removing coyotes from one area would likely lead others to fill in that space, due to the territorial nature of the animal.
In the meantime, the best thing residents can do, Miller stressed, is to supervise their pets when letting them outside and to report any sightings in which they feel threatened to Fairfield Police by calling 203-254-4800. Animal Control's website also has additional information about coyotes.
What do you think the town and state should do?