Think your pet is safe from coyotes?

Think your pet is safe from coyotes?It's best to keep pets indoors, or at least keep an eye on them when they go outside. We knew this. We also knew that, in addition to cars and diseases and poisonous plants, our cats and dogs might have to contend with wildlife like coyotes.

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What we didn't know is that coyotes roam the suburbs of Columbus, OH -- and could snatch felines and small canines. Other disturbing, but possibly useful, information gleaned from the 10TV report:

  • "Every city" has a coyote issue, according to Dr. Stan Gehrt of OSU's School of Environment and Natural Resources. Gehrt has studied coyotes for years, and also noted that the OSU campus has coyotes in residence as well as "passing through."
  • This time of year -- January through the end of February -- is peak mating season for the coyote, and the resulting hormonal increases "could lead to attacks on pets."
  • The good news is, you can protect your pet just by...existing; a healthy coyote isn't interested in people, and will back down from a human. (In the event that you see a coyote get hostile with a human or any other animal, call your local animal-control authority or wildlife division immediately.)
  • It's always a good idea to keep cats indoors. When you go out with your dog, keep her on a leash, or at least within sight.

Other sources recommend fencing in your yard (six feet high is a good minimum); keeping large dogs indoors as well, since coyotes may see them as a threat, and attack; installing motion-sensor lights at the edges of your property; and locking down or disposing of possible food sources -- not just your garbage, but birdfeeders and ripe fruit from trees in your yard as well.

And if all else fails, you can hire the cat who backed down a gigantic alligator.

...Joking aside, be alert to the wildlife in your area. Even urban settings can play home to some decidedly wild animals (there's a raccoon the size of a minivan in my Brooklyn neighborhood), and you don't want your poodle to suffer the same fate as Jessica Simpson's poor hound Daisy.

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How you can help an animal that was hit by a car