A Canine Nonprofit specializing in: Training the Untrainable, Surrender Interventions, and Behaviorist Services; Service, Therapy, and Assistance Dog Certifications; Political and Legislative Advocacy; Rescue Placement, Alerts, and Logistics; an off-shoot MeetUp Group.
It was an early morning in September, as usual I took my Chocolate Lab to the baseball field at the elementary school behind our house. This is a routine we had done all summer, I can stand in one place while she gets her much needed exercise. It had been getting darker and darker each morning, this was a concern of mine, I had just heard about a woman attacked by a man in East Boston while out walking her dog.
As I was about to let my pup off the leash, I heard the distinct sound of toenails on pavement. A coyote was trotting towards us. After realizing that this wasn’t someone’s loose dog coming to play, I waved the chuck-it-stick I had in my hand at it, and the coyote retreated slightly. Once my dog realized what was going on, she started viciously growling and barking, that’s when the coyote moved in. I continued to yell and wave the stick and eventually the coyote ran off, and my dog and I ran home.
According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, the eastern coyote, is well established through-out most of Massachusetts except on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. They are a medium sized predator (their matted hair makes them look larger than they actually are), and an opportunistic feeder. They are extremely adaptable to a wide range of habitats, and thrive in suburban/urban as well as rural areas.
To avoid any unnecessary confrontations with coyotes, be sure to take precautions to eliminate any food sources in your yard and neighborhood (i.e. put trash in a covered container). Always walk your dog on a leash in the early morning and late at night. Coyotes see cats and small dogs as potential food, and larger dogs as competition. For the safety of your pets, keep them with you, a coyote is less likely to attack a dog that is attached to a human via leash.
Although free roaming pets are more likely to be killed by automobiles than by wild animals, coyotes do view them as easy prey. Coyotes can easily climb fences as well and occasionally attack animals that are in fenced in backyards late at night.
After becoming an “expert” on coyotes, I changed my morning routine until daylight saving time, knowing coyotes are nocturnal animals. I tried carrying a golf club around with me but found I was hitting my pup with it by accident rather than defending her. I now carry an intense flashlight that lets cars know where we are on the dark streets, and can also be used as a weapon if necessary.
To learn more about eastern coyotes and ways to protect you and your pup visit Masswildlife.*Make sure your pets are up-to-date on their Rabies vaccination.