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Wildlife Smarts: Don’t let your pet be on tonight’s dinner menu


Coyotes have been known to eat small prey such as mice and rabbits. But as these former rural dwellers become more and more urban, dogs and cats find themselves on the menu as well.

Three coyote attacks in Boulder have spurred a recent educational discussion regarding wildlife precautions. In all three instances, coyotes have attacked domestic dogs. The locations of these attacks are wide, one attack occurred at Wonderlake, another occurred at the Foothills Community Dog Park and the third attack occurred near 4th Street and Lee Hill Drive.

Urban wildlife coordinator, Valerie Matheson, commented on the situation: “Coyotes are smart, adaptable predators who quickly learn to take advantage of any newly discovered food source. It’s important to realize that pets may be seen as prey to coyotes that may attempt to lure pets away from their owners in order to attack them.”

Because of these 3 attacks, local officials are prompting caution; they are giving tips that will help ensure safety for both people and pets.

Authorities are asking that residents not feed wildlife; however cute and cuddly they may seem from afar, their snarling lips and frothing mouths will remind you otherwise as they become less afraid of approaching humans. Keep your dog food indoors so as not to involuntarily break this rule. You don’t want these wild animals realizing your backyard is a bountiful food source.

Officials request that pets be kept on a leash when outdoors. Be wary of your fenced yard; fences are fairly efficient at keeping pets in, but they are often no match for a wild animal. Officials are asking that you not approach wild animals; you don’t know their reaction and it could be extremely dangerous.

Officials also suggest that parents educate their children to the dangers of wild animals: Children should not wander alone, and they should slowly retreat backward toward a group of people should there be an animal encounter. Authorities ask that we teach our children that coyotes are wild, they are not as sweet or cuddly as the adorable chihuahua who lives next door.

Should you have the unpleasant and scary experience of a coyote attacking your pet, contact Valerie Matheson at 303-441-1192 or [email protected].

Contact the Boulder Police Department at 303-441-3333 if you see a coyote disturbing a person.

For more information on the subject, visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife website at http://wildlife.state.co.us or call 303-297-1192.