A beautiful, smart, very adaptable animal – the coyote. Controversy surrounds this animal (sometimes called “God’s dog”) in Central New York as some municipalities either are already, or are leaning toward, killing coyotes. This kind of “management” is unnecessary, unworkable and cruel.
People and coyotes can co-exist if we remember that they are wild animals and should be treated with respect, not familiarity. Do not treat them as if they could be “pets,” such as approaching them or feeding them. A coyote who has been trained to connect people with food and comfort will most likely become a dead coyote because she or he will approach people who are frightened by the animal’s aggressiveness.
“No feeding” includes inadvertent feeding so don’t leave dog or cat food outside. Secure your garbage so animals can’t rummage through it.Don’t leave your cat or small dog outside without supervision because coyotes will occasionally dine on them, as a supplement to their usual diet of rodents, fruit, etc.
Killing coyotes is unworkable because coyotes will stabilize their population to fit the habitat. Ordinarily, it is just the alpha pair in a pack who reproduce. But lethal control can disrupt the pack hierarchy, which causes pack members to disperse, allows more coyotes to reproduce, and encourages large litters because of decreased competition for food and habitat.
There is a wonderful resource available free to municipalities which want a workable, humane plan to co-exist peacefully with coyotes.
Contact Project Coyote, which is based in California but has representatives in the Northeast
Camilla H. Fox, Director
P. O. Box 5007
Project Coyote not only will provide consultation but also offers many resources – brochures, DVDs, books.
I have several copies of a brochure called “Humane Ways to Live with Coyotes.” If you want a free copy, contact me at People for Animal Rights, P. O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358, (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. or LDESTEFANO3@twcny.rr.com