Wheaton police are advising residents with small pets to be alert and take steps to protect their animals after three report coyotes on small dogs since late November.
In two incidents, the elusive canines outright snatched small dogs and left; in the third attack, the dog survived by had to be euthanized because of its extensive injuries, according to a release city posted on its website Thursday.
Coyotes typically are elusive, remaining out of sight, although their calls can be heard in the evenings in the areas where they live.
But the release states that their food grows more scarce this time of year, which also is when young coyotes mature to the point that head out on their own. Consequently, coyotes are seen more often this time of year as they roam about in the search for food.
Small dogs and cats are both small enough for coyotes to prey upon and large enough to represent a good meal they typically can capture with great efficiency.
The Wheaton Police Department pointed to three recent reports of attacks by coyotes on small dogs:
Dec. 10, 2013 — Two coyotes grabbed a dog from outside a home on the 1100 block of South Marcy Avenue.
Dec. 8 — A coyote attacked a small dog that was in a fenced yard near North Pierce Avenue and West Liberty Drive. The dog’s injuries were extensive, prompting its euthanization.
Nov. 27 — A resident was outside with two dogs in the 1700 block of Sjorgren Court. Police said one of the dogs was on a leash, when a coyote quickly ran in and took the unleashed small dog. A Wheaton police officer saw the coyote leaving the area with the dog.
Police point out that fenced-in yards are no guarantee of your pet’s safety, and urge residents to always keep an eye on small pets outdoors. Police advise keeping the animals on a leash when possible, too.
An encounter with coyotes, the release states, should be met with shouting, clapping hands, running toward it or throwing something in its direction, since acting aggressively will increase the animal’s natural fear of humans.
If you see a coyote acting in a threatening manner, call 911, the release states, and police officers will respond.
Police also advise residents to never feed coyotes, which is prohibited by Section 14-102 of the Wheaton City Code. Also ensure that your are not inadvertently providing them with a source of food, such as pet food that is stored outside or unsecured trash.
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