Hoping to help residents grapple with coyotes, the Humane Society of the United States is hosting a seminar on reducing coyote conflicts on Thursday, November 13. The free seminar covers coyote behavior, explains why they're showing up in our community, and advises how to keep them out of your yard and protect your pets.
Last week, a homeowner in Lakewood Heights encountered a coyote that she said took off with her cat. Bonnie Bradshaw of 911 Wildlife, a company contracted by the City of Dallas to handle wildlife concerns, says she receives at least two calls a day about coyotes.
Although there have been instances of a coyote's taking a cat, most cat disappearances cannot be blamed on coyotes, says Lynsey White, director of humane wildlife conflict for the Humane Society.
"First, the Humane Society strongly recommends that all cat owners keep their cats inside," White says. "If they're outside, cats are at risk of being hit by cars as well as at risk of coyote attacks."
A cat or even a small dog that's left unattended is at risk.
"Coyotes will normally leave pets alone," White says. "They normally hunt small rodents such as mice and rats. But they will attack small unattended animals."
Coyote conflicts can happen at any time of year, but right now is not peak season.
"Most conflicts are during mating season in the winter, or in the summer when they're raising their pups," she says. "At this time of year, we see less conflict, but there are young males and yearlings who are bursting from groups — younger, inexperienced coyotes who might take advantage of easy sources of food, like pet food or garbage that's not secured."
And pets are not a "gateway" prey, she says.
"A concern I commonly hear after a pet has been attacked is that coyotes will then attack a child," she says. "There is no connection between the two. Coyotes know the difference between children and small pets."
"Solving Problems With Coyotes" takes place Thursday, November 13, 6:30 pm, at Winfrey Point in the reception hall at White Rock Lake. The seminar is free.