Coyote sightings in Dallas neighborhoods have increased in recent weeks, causing the Dallas Animal Services (DAS) to suggest some easy steps residents can take to ensure their safety.
“Coyotes are common in urban areas and are generally reclusive, so they pose little threat to humans,” DAS Interim Director MeLissa Webber said. “We encourage Dallas residents to keep their distance from coyotes and to also follow the steps below to discourage the coyotes from returning to your area.”
While the danger to humans remains low, residents can remove items that attract the coyotes to stop by for a visit.
DAS states that if coyotes are hungry, they will venture into yards or neighborhoods searching for food, and if they find accessible meal sources, they will continue to return to your area.
Therefore, all garbage and any outdoor pet food should be disposed of quickly or placed somewhere a roaming coyote cannot access.
“As we head towards the autumn season, many young coyote pups are starting to explore and become more active, leading to an increase in sightings,” Webber said. “Small dogs and cats can also attract coyotes to come closer, so we recommend you take simple steps to keep your pets safe by leashing your dog when walking them outside of fenced-in areas and bringing cats indoors.”
Coyotes are generally skittish by nature. However, if a coyote appears to be sick or injured, it may result in unpredictable behavior and threaten public safety. If you suspect a coyote is sick or injured, contact 311 immediately and not interact with the animal.
“Usually, coyotes are going to be more afraid of you than you are of them,” Webber said. “But it is important to discourage them from relying on humans, so we also encourage residents to utilize humane hazing practices to safely scare the coyotes off.”
Hazing tactics include using your body by standing tall, waving your arms, and yelling until the coyote retreats. Noisemakers, such as whistles and soda cans filled with coins or rocks, have proven to make coyotes run away. Other options include spraying a coyote with a water hose, pepper spray, or bear repellent.
Webber adds, if you are walking your dog in an area where you suspect coyotes live, carry whistles or small air horns, pepper spray, or pick up rocks and sticks to throw should a coyote cross your path.
For additional information about coyotes, urban wildlife, and hazing methods, visit https://www.bedallas90.org/home/urban-wildlife/.