North Shore pet owners sounds the coyote alarm
By Randi Jensen, The Nelson Daily
A North Shore resident is warning pet owners to be extra cautious when letting “Fido” or “Sylvester” out for an evening prowl after the family dog was killed by coyotes last week.
The incident happened in the Six Mile area when the homeowner let the small dog out for the evening bathroom break.
“Owners of small domestic animals and pets need to be especially cautious at this time of year,” said Deborah Weiland, who recently just lost their small dog Murphy to coyotes.
Weiland, who has lived in rural Nelson her entire life, had never before lost a pet to the wild predator.
“It is disconcerting to know how prevalent the coyote packs are encroaching into human domestic areas.”
This time of year the coyotes are more aggressive because they in the breading cycle.
Weiland warns not to have a false sense of security.
The neighbour’s large brown lab had been attacked by a pack of coyotes this same time of year four years ago.
Her family also owns a large dog that was out with her little one at the time of the attack.
“The coyotes lured Murphy and separated him from our big dog and pretty much ambushed him,” Weiland explains.
The attack happened out the front door in the driveway while the dogs were out for the evening prior to bedtime.
Another precautionary measure is to mix up your routine a bit so that there isn’t a pattern the coyotes can pick up on. Failing that, keep dogs on the leash during a short walk with instead of just letting them out.
A fenced in yard is another option for dog owners but not so practical for cats.
Coyotes are attracted, like bears during the summer, to dog food left outdoors or compost or garbage in the yard.
Though they are classified as carnivores they adapt easily to places as long as there is enough food and shelter.
It’s important not to leave children outside unattended if you know there are coyotes in your area.
There are documented cases where coyotes have attacked humans, although rare.
In those cases the coyotes had lost their fear of humans because people fed them.
If confronted by a coyote: yell, stamp your feet, look big, wave your arms and scare the coyote away. Kids, especially, need to know this.
Conservation Officer Ben Beetlestone of Castlegar also emphasized prevention.
“Bird feeders attract field mice and other critters which also encourage coyote presence,” he said, adding electric fences are recommended to stave off all wild predators.
Weiland advocates for co-existence of the wild and human habitat and personally has a no-gun policy in her house but wonders if there are reasonable ways to push back the boundary to the coyote.
“Are small pets and animals becoming a reliable food source for them?” she asks. “If so, maybe we should be concerned.”
After speaking with the Conservation Officer (CO) in Nelson Weiland is “disheartened” to find out that there is no tracking of pet and domestic animal loss to wild predators. The only way a person finds out is by word of mouth among friends and neighbours.
Any aggressive wildlife should be reported to the 24 hour RAPP line: 1-877-952-7277.
Wild Safe BC is a program that is designed to reduce human-wildlife conflicts throughout BC and is the closest service available that tracks wildlife encounters. It is an interactive database that people can use to report sightings of a number of species of wildlife, coyotes included but note that the first thing one comes to is disclaimer to its accuracy. Go to Wild Safe BC site and click on the WARP tab.