Every time I turn around someone has a coyote story. My neighbor whose backyard has a drive thru alley and a chain link fence said a coyote was hungrily eying her 6-pound Chinese-crested dog even though her 35-pound Chow-Cattle dog mix was barking and growling her head off. When her husband came out wielding a golf club the coyote just stared back at him, hardly intimidated.
According to this 2009 article in the Christian Science Monitor, “A coyote can jump a six-foot fence and take a small dog or cat and be back in a flash – do it right in front of you.”
Last week I received a request from someone asking me to blog about two lost Chihuahuas that had slipped their harnesses and were missing. Apparently, during their walk in a midtown neighborhood a large dog had charged and the two small dogs slipped their harnesses in fear. Typically, I don’t post lost dogs or else I would be inundated. A second request had a more desperate tone and a top dollar reward. I decided to call the local number on the flyer (there was also a Texas area code). The timing could not have been worse as the woman had just found what she thought were the remains of one of her dogs in a wash ravaged by what she thought was a coyote. She thought the other dog got hit by a car.
I know coyotes roamed this earth before we did but they do pose a real threat to pet owners. I’m still always amazed at how many people have outdoor cats. To me, that’s cat coyote roulette.
According to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, a woman’s encounter with a pair of aggressive coyotes near Phoenix in the Ahwatukee Foothills serves as a reminder that the threat of rabies is very real. Coyotes can carry rabies, and although encounters are rare the risk is always there. Even large dogs can be targets. Having pets vaccinated will protect your pet from all potentially rabid animals.
Rabies’ symptoms include foaming at the mouth, erratic or hyperactive behavior, and/or fearful, paralyzed, or lethargic behavior. Refer to this page at the Arizona Game & Fish Department website for more urban coyote information. Call 911 or your closest Arizona Game and Fish Department office immediately if you see any animal with rabies symptoms.
The HSSA offers low-cost vaccination clinics three times a week at the Companions For Life Center. For more info, please visit the website.
(Photo is courtesy of Mark Evans)