Illinois DNR Offers Tips on Keeping Pets Safe From Coyotes

A string of attacks by coyotes against pets has left suburban pet owners spooked and searching for answers on how they can avoid a confrontation.

One of those attacks was caught on video in Northfield as a coyote brutally attacked a family’s dog in their own backyard. The dog, a cairn terrier named Boozer, survived the attack and is recovering after treatment from veterinarians.

Another attack recently occurred in Orland Park, when a woman’s dog was killed by a coyote.

With coyote attacks on the rise due to warmer winters and more aggressive behavior by the animals, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is offering tips for pet owners on how to keep their furry friends safe.

The first and most important recommendation offered by DNR Biologist Nicky Strahl is for homeowners and residents to not leave food outside for animals. That food attracts rodents, and those rodents are the primary source of food for coyotes. Food that’s fallen from bird feeders also attracts rodents, which in turn lure coyotes into neighborhoods.

Strahl also recommends that homeowners take steps to prevent rodents from living under decks and porches over the winter. 

Finally, if a coyote is sighted while you are with your animal, the most important thing to do is to make as much noise as possible to scare the animal away. Coyotes are becoming used to living in urban areas, so keeping the fear of humans instilled in their minds is a way to keep your animal safe.

More information on interacting with animals can be found on the University of Illinois Extension’s “Living With Wildlife” website. 

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