WASHINGTON (TND) — A dog was reportedly attacked and killed by a coyote while it was out for a walk in a Massachusetts town.
Our beloved JJ was attacked Saturday night while being walked on a leash on Colby way. He died a few hours later at the animal hospital. The coyote was extremely aggressive and kept coming towards me after I was able to pick up my dog,” Adriana Del Dotto wrote on the Facebook group called “Nahant Coyote Victims.”
Chris Del Dotto told WCVB the dog was a 15-year-old silky terrier that weighed 11 pounds and attacked in Nahant.
I loved him to death. He was my buddy,” Del Dotto told the media outlet. “I’m never going to forget the noise he made, and taking him to the hospital and seeing him dying in front of me. It was horrible.”
Now, residents of Nahant are on edge. Many are demanding the town do more to mitigate its coyote population.
In a statement posted online, the town’s Board of Selectmen recently said leaders received “multiple complaints” about coyotes, including an incident in which “a coyote attacked a pet under control of its owner while on a leash.”
The statement also noted that “several residents reported being surrounded by a pack of aggressive coyotes while they were walking with their pets” during the fall.
Countless communities across the state face issues with habituated coyotes and problem animals, and the other legal options are not effective,” Board Chairman Gene Canty said in the statement. “As a board we will continue to educate residents on the importance of coexisting with coyotes as we work toward finding a balance that maintains public safety.”
In December, the Board of Selectmen voted to bring in the U.S. Fish & Wildlife to remove problematic coyotes. The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it became the first municipality in the state to actively shoot and kill coyotes.
The town said “it is believed that six to 12 coyotes are in Nahant” and the ongoing “goal is to eliminate habituated coyotes that have been aggressive toward residents, and thus increase public safety. A habituated coyote has lost its natural fear of humans; not all coyotes are habituated.”
But the town said it has encountered many challenges in its quest to limit the coyotes. It provided the following list:
- Trapping coyotes is extremely difficult. According to Mass Wildlife, the box cage trap, the only legal trap for coyotes in Massachusetts, has successfully trapped just three coyotes during the last 10 years across the state.
- State law sets strict limits on where hunting may be allowed. Nahant’s density almost entirely precludes this option.
- State law does not allow relocation of aggressive coyotes.
The town also advised the public coyote pupping season peaks in March, adding coyotes can become “particularly territorial and aggressive during this time.”
As news circulates about the fatal dog attack, the Special Reports Team at Veterinarians.org shared what it described as ways to prevent coyote attacks:
- Dress Your Dog In A Coyote Vest: The vests are made of bite-resistant material such as kevlar and are armed with 1-inch spikes along the back and sides.
- Coyote Repellents: You can use smells such as white vinegar, wolf or other predator urine, chili, or cayenne pepper to keep the coyotes in the locale away from your home.
- Don’t Leave Your Dog Outside Unattended: A hungry coyote will go to great lengths to catch its prey, and a dog left alone outside is a dangerous situation.
- Clean Up After Your Dog Regularly: Coyotes have a fine-tuned sense of smell and pet feces will alert any coyote nearby to your dog‘s presence.
- Don’t Feed Your Dog Outside: Coyotes are predators that are constantly on the lookout for food and shelter. Dog owners are also advised to avoid feeding strays or other wild animals such as deer or rabbits, since coyotes hunt these animals.
- Coyote Fencing: Installing coyote-proof fencing all-around your property serves as a great deterrent, as long as the fence is at least 6-8 feet high and 1-2 feet into the ground.
The state of Massachusetts said the eastern coyote is well-established throughout the Bay State, excluding Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
A medium-sized predator, it is an opportunistic feeder and extraordinarily adaptable to a wide range of habitats,” according to the state’s website. “Coyotes thrive in suburban, urban, and rural areas. They will utilize whatever food is naturally available, including small animals, birds, insects and fruits, as well as artificial sources such as garbage, pet food, birdseed, and compost.”
Learn more mass.gov.