With winter weather a thing of the past, and temperatures finally warming up as spring has sprung, the Westport Police Department is warning local residents to be on alert following several coyote sightings.
The Westport Police Department issued an alert on Thursday following several calls to Animal Control from residents recently regarding the local coyote population after several were spotted in the area.
Police said that residents with children and small pets should “be aware of the dangers associated with a coyote encounter.”
“We would like to remind residents that coyotes’ ability to survive and take advantage of food sources found in and around man-made habitats has resulted in an increase in coyote-related conflicts.”
In response to the recent rash of sightings, the Westport Police Department issued a series of several tips to help keep residents safe during a potential coyote encounter:
- Never feed coyotes—it is illegal to feed coyotes in most places. Feeding endangers your family and neighbors as it lures coyotes into neighborhoods.
- Keep unattended cats and dogs indoors or in completely enclosed runs, especially at night, and do not assume that a fence will keep a coyote out of your back yard.
- Accompany your leashed pet outside. Make sure you turn on lights if it is dark to check your back yard for unexpected wildlife.
- Keep dogs on short leashes while walking outside; the Division of Wildlife recommends a leash no longer than 6 feet.
- Leave noisemakers on hand to scare away coyotes that may enter your yard, such as whistles and horns.
- Don't run away or turn your back on a coyote.
- Do not allow a coyote to get in between you and your pet or child—keep children close to you.
- Yell, clap hands, blow a whistle and try to make yourself look larger if you have a close encounter with a coyote.
- Habituated coyotes are sometimes a neighborhood issue. Work with your neighbors to make sure attractants such as fallen fruit, pet food left outside, dirty barbecue grills, and unsecured trash or compost are removed so that negative coyote interactions are minimized. Be sure no one is intentionally feeding coyotes.
" Please contact the Police Department if there is an immediate danger associated with a coyote. To report coyote sightings, please contact the Animal Control Office at 203-341-6011 or the Westport Police non-emergency number at 203- 341-6000," officials stated. "Animal Control is also providing informational pamphlets to residents in the neighborhoods where we have been experiencing coyote issues."
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