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Coyote Safety Tips

We remember to give them their shots, and take them for regular check-ups.  But, what about safety in your own backyard?  Small pets, particularly cats and dogs in unfenced or electronically-fenced yards, are susceptible to coyote attacks.  Coyotes are found in all areas of Cook County. They are a native species and a critical component of the ecosystem. Coyotes show little fear of humans and have become comfortable living in close proximity to our communities, but they are not domesticated. Although they tend to do most of their hunting after dusk, the so-called ‘prairie wolf' can be active at any time. Under normal circumstance, a coyote is not a danger to humans. They are, however, territorial and will respond aggressively if they or their family are threatened. But it is also hard for a coyote to pass up a free meal or, as the case may be, a defenseless pet.

There are things you can do to keep your pet, and your entire family, safe.  While caution is always warranted, experts recommend the following safety tips:
  1. Fence pet and animal enclosures completely, if possible include a top.
  2. Keep cats and small dogs indoors. When walking small dogs, always keep them on a leash.
  3. Coyotes are most active dusk to dawn. Avoid walking pets after dark.
  4. Bring along pepper spray or a stick in case a coyote gets aggressive. Screaming or yelling and waving arms sometimes won't work on coyotes that have lost their fear of humans.
  5. Any pet smaller than 45 pounds should never be left outside past 4 p.m.
  6. Feed pets indoors. Eliminate potential food and water sources such as fallen fruit or vegetables and standing water.
  7. Store trash in covered, heavy-duty containers.
  8. Keep yards free of potential hiding places. Remove thick brush and weeds. Enclose the bottoms of porches and decks.
  9. If you encounter a coyote that behaves aggressively, you have probably gotten too close to its prey or its family. Try to scare the coyote by yelling and waving your arms. Throw rocks, sticks or other objects. Do not turn away and run.
Remember - never feed coyotes. It may make them less afraid of humans and potentially more dangerous.  If you have any concerns, please call the Police Department using 9-1-1.