Thursday, February 2, 2012

Coyote Season: Watch Your Pets!

Coyote season in Vancouver has been scary this time around. Twice in December we had coyotes gather at our intersection in Kitsilano shrieking and howling their greetings and we’ve occasionally seen the remains of what we sadly suspect are cats scattered around the neighborhood. Not long ago I even saw a coyote walking up the street a few blocks ahead of where Figgy and I were returning from our morning coffee run. Needless to say, I was freaked right out. I think it was the sight of this last one that really got me to thinking. He seemed utterly unafraid of anything and at first I took him to be a largish grey dog walking off-leash ahead of us.

As someone who loves all canines, I'm a little conflicted about how I feel about coyotes. On the one hand, there is something very lovely -- almost otherworldly -- about the coyotes as they pad about my neighborhood in the winter mist. On the other, I know they pose a very real potential threat to my own dogs and those of my friends and clients. Local police have said there are dens in Kitsilano (and likely other parts of the city, I would think) and that it’s best not to have your dog off-leash at any time or to have your cats at large. According to Shine Pets, coyote season is right now:
This time of year -- January through the end of February -- is peak mating season for the coyote, and the resulting hormonal increases "could lead to attacks on pets."

The good news is, you can protect your pet just by...existing; a healthy coyote isn't interested in people, and will back down from a human. (In the event that you see a coyote get hostile with a human or any other animal, call your local animal-control authority or wildlife division immediately.)

It's always a good idea to keep cats indoors. When you go out with your dog, keep her on a leash, or at least within sight.
In my opinion, even that is not enough. At this time of year, if you live in an area where you suspect there may be coyotes in the immediate area, keep your precious canine friends on leash at all times. No sense taking chances when it can lead to heartbreak.


  1. We're not letting to boys loose at all right now, especially at the farm. I saw three coyotes in one of the pastures while I worked with our horse Kash the other morning. Scary stuff!

  2. Smart thinking Mama!!! Coyotes are hungry and pup and kitties make a goiod meal...not worth taking a chance! And the coyotes are NOT afraid of us in the least.