SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WGGB) — In the last two weeks, at least two small dogs have become prey for some Southwick coyotes.
“On the north side of town, on College Highway near Sunnyside, an older small dog was let out to go to the bathroom at night. Unfortunately there was no fencing. Unfortunately the dog probably did not hear the coyote come and the owners found the remains the next day,” said Tracy Root, the town’s Animal Control Officer.
Root says these numbers are ordinary, since coyotes are opportunists who chow down on anything they can find, including small rodents and garbage to fatten up for the winter.
Just the other day, Root says a Westfield Animal Control officer spotted a coyote walking down College Highway near the Southwick/Westfield border into the town, and saw it strolling along Main Street.
Root says this is just a product of us moving into their environment. “They’re actually very shy animals, but because of the human population taking over their space, they’ll come in for food,” she says.
If you come across a coyote, your initial reaction might be fear.
It’s really the other way around.
“They actually are terrified of us. Don’t be intimidated by them. If you just smack your hands together and yell, they’ll usually turn tail and run,” Root shared.
Still, there are steps you can take to keep your tiny pets safe. “Lock up your garbage and do that for bears too because bears are opportunists. Don’t feed your pets outside. Feed them inside, cut the brush back away from the edges of your property because they will hide there and watch.”
Root also suggests if you have cats and dogs under forty pounds, you should bring them inside during the night.
The issue also crosses state lines. Suffield and Granby, Conn. are dealing with it as well.
According to the Massachusetts Division of Wildlife and Fisheries says there are 10,000 coyotes in the Bay state alone.