The Examiner

New Castle Forms Two Groups to Tackle Coyote Problem

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369 Coyote Committees picThe Town of New Castle has established two committees to help address the growing coyote problem in the region.

Town board members unanimously approved last Tuesday night the creation of the Coyote Awareness and Safety Committee and the Coyote Management Task Force in an effort to provide a full range of information and perspectives on tackling the issue.

“We recognize that there may not be unanimity between these advisory boards on all issues,” said Supervisor Robert Greenstein. “They clearly have different approaches.”

In recent months, the number of coyote sightings and attacks have increased, with several pets being killed. Most recently, a coyote attacked a cat outside the Millwood A&P, which concerned members of the Coyote Management Task Force because it demonstrates the comfort the wild creatures have gained around people.

Anne Styles Brochstein, a member of the six-member task force, saw her small dog attacked by a coyote earlier this year on her patio. Her pet survived, which has not often been the case, her veterinarian told her.

“It’s very frightening to think that coyotes are so emboldened that they would come onto a somewhat sheltered stone patio within 10 feet of our doors…and attack our pets,” Brochstein said.

The task force’s goal is to educate residents about the presence of coyotes and reduce the risk of attacks by informing the public on how to haze, steps that residents can take to effectively combat coyotes in different situations.

It will also identify measures that can be taken by the town’s Recreation and Parks Department and Department of Public Works, including providing information to residents about the best methods for storing garbage and advising against storing food or placing bird seed outside.

Brochstein said that the group is currently in the process of gathering information on coyotes, and are asking people to report sightings on the Chappaqua Moms Coyote Sightings Facebook page so a comprehensive map can be compiled. In addition, she stated the task force is in contact with neighboring towns and experts in the field to decide how the issue should be addressed.

The Coyote Awareness and Safety Committee, which currently consists of three members, aims to provide science-based information to the town and residents regarding coyotes.

Committee Chairwoman Victoria Alzapiedi said the group is currently developing a panel of experts from around the country as well as from local animal sanctuaries to help. The committee is investigating how coyote sightings have progressed and the implications that development within the town has had on their behavior and migration patterns.

“We really want to look at what has progressed, what has transpired over the years and look at the implications of development and other things that we as a town really need to be sensitive to, to really move forward in a way that we are really ensuring that we’re doing whatever we can to make residents safe and comfortable,” Alzapiedi said.

On Oct. 22, Dr. Chris Nagy of the Mianus River Gorge in Bedford will host a “wild suburbia” discussion at 7 p.m. at New Castle Town Hall. Alzapiedi said that residents can submit questions for Nagy in advance. The discussion will focus on how to safely coexist with wildlife in the area.

Both the Coyote Awareness and Safety Committee and the Coyote Management Task Force were appointed for one year and will periodically present reports and recommendations to the town board.

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