The New Castle Police Department issued a warning this week emphasizing residents to take proper precautions to protect themselves against coyotes after two recent attacks killed a dog.
Police issued the warning through the town’s Nixle alert system on Thursday following concern raised by a May 27 incident at about 7 a.m. when a 38-pound dog was attacked and killed on Kipp Street by one or more coyotes.
Since the attack, several coyotes have been observed in the wooded area near that home, although residents told police that they had not seen any activity in the area before the incident.
On May 18 at about 7:30 a.m., a small dog was attacked by a coyote on Random Farms Drive while being walked by its owner. Police said the dog ran slightly ahead of the owner who lost visual contact around a turn in the path. When the dog was back in the owner’s view, he saw the pet being attacked by the coyote. When the owner approached the coyote dropped the dog.
The dog was treated by a veterinarian for injuries and will survive, police said.
Although the town’s the likelihood of spotting a coyote increases in the area from about late March through June because this time of year is pup rearing season, said Wendy Rosenbach, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
As a result, the adult coyotes are generally more protective of the young coyotes who are still in the den, she said. After June, the pups typically begin dispersing.
Despite the chances of encounters lessen after June, the town maintains a nonaggressive sightings map on its website showing the observances that have been within the past six months. There have been between 30 and 40 sightings posted in the past six months.
The police and the DEC have issued some tips to help keep small pets safe:
Pets should not be left outside alone, even when tied to a runner. Small pets need to be supervised with a person close by to help them if they run into trouble.
Don’t assume a fence is enough protection. It needs to be at least six feet high without chain links that offer a coyote an easy way to climb over. Coyotes can also enter a yard by from under a fence if there is enough space.
Coyotes can attack at any time but dawn and dusk are the most dangerous times.
Don’t assume having your dog on a leash is enough. If you’re out walking and see a coyote, pick up your dog.
Reports of aggressive behavior or unusual sightings should be made to the New Castle Police Department at 238-4422. Call 911 in an emergency.