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Police sound warning after coyote kills dog in backyard

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WCVB report includes video of pup


UPDATED, Oct. 1: Town public-safety officials warn residents to be on the alert after a coyote killed a family dog in the backyard near Menotomy Rocks on Friday, Sept. 30.

Police Chief Frederick Ryan and Animal Control Officer Kathryn Kozikowski asked all to be vigilant with their pets while outdoors.

About 7 a.m., police received a report that a coyote had attacked and killed a resident's West Highland Terrier while the dog was in the backyard. The resident's property abuts the Menotomy Rocks Park, a wooded area where coyotes have been known to live.

Kozikowski said that, after a mild winter, some wildlife has increased, and that has created a greater supply of food for the coyotes and could be why residents have seen them in the more populated areas of town. While coyotes generally hunt during low light hours (sunrise and sunset), it is not unnatural to see them during daylight hours.

"There will always be coyotes in Arlington," Kozikowski said. "The best ways that we can prevent further interactions with coyotes is to make our homes less of an attraction for them."

To prevent coyote attacks, public-safety officials advise residents to follow safety tips from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife:

• Do not approach, feed, pet, or try to interact with wildlife, including coyotes, foxes, or other wild animals.

• It is always a good idea to leash pets at all times if outdoors. Small cats and dogs are seen as prey and larger dogs, competition.

• Don’t hesitate to scare or threaten coyotes with loud noises, bright lights, or water sprayed from a hose.

• Cut back brushy edges, as these areas provide cover for coyotes and their prey.

• Secure your garbage. Coyotes raid open trash materials and compost piles. Secure your garbage in tough plastic containers with tight-fitting lids and keep them in secure buildings when possible. Take out trash when the morning pickup is scheduled, not the previous night. Keep compost in secure, vented containers, and keep barbecue grills clean to reduce attractive odors.

• Keep bird feeder areas clean. Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground, as the seed attracts many small mammals that coyotes prey on. Remove feeders if coyotes are regularly seen around your yard.

"This was an extremely unfortunate incident where a family lost their beloved pet," Ryan said in a news release. "While residents should not live in fear of coyotes, we do advise that those with small children and animals be vigilant while outdoors, and follow these safety tips to help prevent interactions with the animal."

Report any coyote sightings to Arlington Animal Control by calling 781-645-8014.


This news report was published Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, and updated Oct. 1, to add link.

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