Photo: Alan Berning (Flickr)
Besides falling temperatures, residents may have another reason to bring their pets inside. In suburban communities outside of Indianapolis, coyote attacks are on the rise.
Johnson County Animal Control Director Michael Delph says pet-owners should be on the lookout for coyote attacks.
“Coyotes are predators of opportunity, they can’t really distinguish between a small dog, a cat, and a rabbit,” he says. “They’re going to where the food is.”
Delph says that any resources the coyotes may need, such as food, water, and shelter, will lure them into suburban neighborhoods. He says around 30 residents have reported coyote activity in Johnson County.
“Cut off their food source and they’ll move on,” Delph says. “Make sure all the lids are on trash cans, keep an eye on your small animals when they’re out, don’t let your cats run at large. As soon as the coyotes realize hey you know our easy food source has been cut off, they’ll move on and look for other areas of opportunity.”
In Greenwood, Assistant Police Chief Matthew Fillenwarth says his department has an officer on duty at night who is a trained sharpshooter, and will kill coyotes on city property if it can be done safely.
“We can’t hunt them in the neighborhoods,” he says though. “Its not safe.”
Fillenwarth says dogs and cats make an easy meal for a coyote, especially if the pet is tied up in a backyard. He says not even a six foot fence is enough to keep the coyotes out, and it is difficult to trap the animals without endangering other wildlife and pets.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources Biologist Shawn Rossler says outside of city limits, farmers can help prevent coyote attacks by removing them on their own. The annual coyote hunting season runs from October 15 to March 15.