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Recent coyote attacks raise concerns for local pet owners

Several recent posts on the Nextdoor social media app warn people in the Rockford region about coyote attacks on pets.
Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 6:15 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Recent posts on Nextdoor warn residents throughout the Rockford region about coyote attacks on pets.

According to wildlife experts, coyotes can attack pets for a number of reasons. They could be sick, injured, or see pets as a source of food. Sometimes female coyotes can attack to protect their den. But around dogs, coyotes may try to assert their K9 dominance. Coyotes usually come out at night, so an appearance during the day should be worrisome.

“A lot of times, there are signs that are present that are overlooked,” said Critters Gone Urban Owner Tim Walker. “When you have a coyote presence during the day and that coyote is approaching you and your pet that seems to be a reoccurring issue that’s probably a coyote that needs to come out.”

Sometimes coyotes could even go after older or smaller pets. Wildlife experts said pet owners should be mindful and not let your pets out of your sight.

If pet owners do feed their pets outdoors, experts advise you should bring them in at night. Coyotes who see places as a source of food can usually be around more than you’d think.

“When a coyote attacks someone maybe not the person being attacked or the pet owner, someone has probably done something wrong they’ve probably kept it as a pet...they’ve fed it. They’ve done something to attract that animal somewhere where they don’t belong and put them in a bad situation,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division Chief Mike Wefer.

Wefer said that if a coyote threatens, humans shouldn’t be afraid to assert their dominance.

“They’re not huge animals. We’re much bigger than them. So raise your hands, clap your hands, make a lot of noise, yell, throw sticks and rocks. And generally unless something is horribly wrong with the coyote, they are going to boogie out of there,” said Wefer.

Wefer says if coyotes to misbehave, there are licensed Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators you can hire to remove them from your neighborhood.

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