COEXISTING WITH COYOTES
Over the past several months, there has been an increase in coyote sightings and interactions in our community. Typically, coyotes tend to be reclusive and do their best to avoid humans. However, as they adapt to their urban surroundings, coyotes are becoming more comfortable around people and our homes. There are methods of keeping coyotes away called hazing. Hazing will help keep a fear of humans in the coyotes and deter them from hanging out in neighborhoods, entering backyards, and common spaces. Some popular hazing methods are: yelling while waving your arms, air horns, whistles, shaking a soda can with a few pennies inside, pepper spray, and spraying the coyote with a garden hose.
While it is not normal behavior for a coyote to attack a human, it does happen. This rare occurrence usually happens when humans are feeding coyotes and giving them a sense of indifference to their presence. Feeding coyotes in both Maricopa and Pima counties is illegal (ARS 13-2927) and punishable by a fine of up to $300.
When it comes to eating, coyotes are opportunists and not picky about what they eat. They will eat seeds, cactus fruit, garbage, small animals (alive or dead), and yes, even pets.
Protecting Your Pets
When walking your dog, make sure it is on a leash of which you have a firm grip. If you see a coyote, you should pick up your dog when possible and when not possible stand in front of the dog. The next step is to begin hazing the coyote until it leaves the area. Never run from a coyote as it may stimulate the coyote’s chase instincts.
While in your backyard, do not leave pets unsupervised. In fact, coyotes have snatched smaller pets from backyards while the owners were present. It’s important to have hazing tools ready to go each time you take your pet outside. You may not be able to completely coyote-proof your backyard, but there are a few things you can do to make it less hospitable.
• Make sure that you only feed pets inside
• Put trash in containers and never leave bags of garbage on the back porch
• Cut back shrubs and bushes to prevent hiding or resting places for coyotes
A variety of repellant sprays are also available. These will often have an unpleasant odor so when using these, please be respectful of your neighbors.
It is rare for a coyote to have rabies, but if your pet is bitten by a coyote, you need to seek care for them immediately. The wounds will need to be thoroughly cleaned, a rabies booster (for precaution), and antibiotics need to be administered. The main reason for this is that the coyote may have harmful bacteria in their mouth based on what they have recently eaten.
The same bite protocol goes for people as well. If a coyote bites you or a family member, wash the wound and seek immediate medical help.
It’s A Cooperative Effort
It is important that everyone in the community does their part to haze the coyotes out of the neighborhoods. That is the only way to push them to the outskirts of Desert Ridge. This not only helps keep our children, pets, and neighbors safe; it helps keep the coyotes safe as well. When hazing, the coyote may run for a bit and then stop to turn back and look. It’s important to keep hazing till until it completely leaves the area. If that coyote returns, make sure to haze them again. According to the experts, it only takes one or two times to scare them off for good.
When to Contact Authorities
Coyotes fall under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. You should report coyote attacks on pets or people directly to them at (602) 942-3000. You should also report a coyote that you suspect may be sick or injured.
These animals will always have some presence in our community, but with preparedness and followthrough, we can keep their nuisance to a minimum and coexist with the coyotes.