“We’re very concerned about the over-abundance of coyotes, particularly the increased aggression toward pets and their lack of fear toward humans,” said Gallagher.
“In the last two weeks, we’ve had one dog carried off and at least two that were attacked. They’re not just in wooded areas anymore. People are afraid to be outside with their pets and small children.”
But the town won't get involved in a coordinated coyote trapping initiative. Before the public session began, Town Administrator Penny Paderewski said there’s not much the town—including its police department—can do about the situation.
“Coyotes are a serious matter,” she said. “However, they are controlled by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation—they are the authority concerning wildlife safety issues. They can be reached at 845-256-3012. The town’s website, mynewcastle.org, has information on what residents can do.”
Gorkin still wanted to speak about the growing amount of concern in the community.
“We just feel like it’s really, really out of control and coyotes are everywhere. Within two weeks, one dog was killed and another disappeared. We know we need to be aware, coyotes are here, foxes are here, bobcats are here,” she said.
“But we just felt like we needed to come because we love our dogs. We just feel like, ‘Are we waiting for a child to be attacked to do something about it?'”
However, Town Supervisor Susan Carpenter said coyotes sightings in Chappaqua are not new and said their presence is no more dangerous than other species in the area—and are actually likely to be less threatening.
“You know, there’s something people really need to know. First of all, I think in all the history of the United States, there’s only been one person killed by a coyote—many people are killed every year by dogs,” said Carpenter.
“Many people are killed by bee stings, and by horses. So the danger to your children is much, much, much higher (with other animals). Many more children are killed by deer. Many more people are killed by deer every year than have ever been killed by a coyote. So I really think you have to keep that in some perspective.”
But Gallagher said recent coyote activity presents a new problem and should be addressed accordingly.
“It’s beyond what’s it’s been over the last few years,” she said. “This year is really, really bad.”
An article provided by the town on how to co-exist with the Eastern Coyote in New Castle can be found here.
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