CO: Coyote attack in Aspen prompts DOW warnings

ASPEN, Colo. – A pack of coyotes attacked and killed a pet dog
in Aspen Friday afternoon, prompting the Colorado Division of
Wildlife to remind residents to take precautions in areas where
conflicts with wildlife are possible.

An Aspen resident said she and her dog were on a hiking trail on
Smuggler Mountain when the attack occurred. The woman reported that
she was walking her six-month old Labradoodle in an area where it
is legal for pets to roam off-leash when one or more coyotes
attacked the puppy after it apparently approached them in a playful
manner.

“This is a very unfortunate incident and I feel very badly for
this lady,” said Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will. “It is also a
sad reminder that pet owners need to keep their pets on a leash and
take precautions whenever they walk their pets in areas where they
could encounter wildlife.”

Although coyotes are typically shy and reclusive, they are also
intelligent creatures that learn to adapt to changing conditions in
their surroundings. As Colorado’s growing population continues to
encroach on coyote habitat, coyotes can lose their fear of people.
Once that happens, coyotes can learn to target pets as prey items
and in rare cases, become aggressive in the presence of people.

Division officials also caution that at this time of the year,
many coyotes are rearing their young and can be especially
aggressive and territorial.

The Division considers any coyote that behaves aggressively
toward people to be a risk to public safety and will kill the
animal if possible. Division officials recommend reporting any
conflict with coyotes to the local DOW office.

Although hunting and other lethal and non-lethal methods have
been used to control coyote populations, the Division believes a
public that is educated and informed about living with coyotes and
other wildlife species is the most effective way to reduce
conflicts.

“Like all of Colorado’s wildlife, coyotes can provide an
enjoyable wildlife viewing experience, but this incident is a
reminder that people need to keep their distance,” said Will.

Will advises pet owners to keep their pets on leashes when
walking them, even if the area does not prohibit walking them
off-leash. He also has a few suggestions if you encounter a
coyote.

“If a coyote approaches you or your pet, use a loud voice to
frighten the animal,” said Will. “Throw rocks or sticks to frighten
it away.”

The Division also recommends that even around the home, pet
owners should keep their pets indoors or in a yard protected by at
least a six-foot fence or in an enclosed kennel, and avoid allowing
a dog to approach coyotes at all costs, even if the animals appears
to want to play. Often an apparent invitation to play is in reality
a prelude to an attack.

Pet owners are also advised to avoid feeding their pets outside,
which can attract coyotes and other wildlife such as bears into
their yard. In addition, garbage should be kept in
wildlife-resistant containers and cleaned regularly with hot water
and bleach to reduce residual odors.

Residents of Colorado should keep in mind that as long as there
is sufficient food and shelter, many wildlife species will readily
utilize habitat in urban or suburban areas. If wildlife has made a
home near yours, the Division officials strongly recommend taking
precautions to avoid conflicts. With a little knowledge and
understanding of wildlife behavior and habits, Coloradans can
reduce the likelihood of a conflict and live compatibly with native
species.

For more information about coyotes go to:

http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/LivingWithWildlife/Mammals/CoyoteCountry.htm

http://wildlife.state.co.us/Education/TeacherResources/ColoradoWildlifeCompany/TheCoyoteCWCWin1995.htm

http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/LivingWithWildlife/Mammals/CoyoteCountry2.htm

 

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