Today I’m writing to you about a public safety issue hitting particularly close to home. I want to alert you about the growing presence of coyotes in Fairfield.
Just last week, a coyote was in my own yard close to my dogs, thankfully my husband and I were there to scare it off. Sadly, it was reported the next day that a neighbors dog was taken from it’s yard and killed.
Fairfield’s lamp posts are filled with missing pet flyers and weekly reports of dogs being attacked and killed in their own yards has become common place. As a life long Fairfield resident I’ve never seen a coyote until last week. Coyotes have no predators and are increasing in numbers.
I have contacted the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and their Wildlife division, Police Chief McNamara and Paul Miller, Fairfield’s Animal Control Officer regarding the overwhelming presence of coyotes in Fairfield and to ask for advice.
The Wildlife Division has offered the following tips on how to handle coyotes:
Tips on Preventing Conflicts with Coyotes
- DO NOT allow pets to run free! Keep cats indoors, particularly at night, and small dogs on a leash or under close supervision at all times. The installation of a kennel or coyote-proof fencing is a long-term solution for protecting pets. A variety of livestock fencing and small animal pen designs can protect farm animals.
- NEVER feed coyotes! DO NOT place food out for any mammals. Clean up bird seed below feeders, pet foods, and fallen fruit. Secure garbage and compost in animal proof containers.
- Always walk dogs on a leash. If approached by a coyote while walking your dog, keep the dog under control and calmly leave the area. DO NOT run or turn your back. Coyotes are territorial and many reports of bold coyotes visiting yards, howling, or threatening larger dogs can often be attributed to this territorial behavior.
- Attempt to frighten away coyotes by making loud noises (e.g., shouting, air horn) and acting aggressively (e.g., waving your arms, throwing sticks, spraying with a hose).
- Be aware of any coyote behaving abnormally or exhibiting unusually bold behavior (e.g., approaching people for food, attacking leashed pets that are with their owners, stalking children, chasing joggers or bikers, etc.) and report these incidents to authorities immediately.
- Be aware of and report any coyotes exhibiting behavior indicative of rabies, such as staggering, seizures, and extreme lethargy. Daytime activity is not uncommon and does not necessarily indicate rabies.
- Teach children to recognize coyotes and to go inside the house (do not run) or climb up on a swing or deck and yell if they are approached.
- Close off crawl spaces under porches and sheds that coyotes or other animals may use.
- Educate your neighbors. Ask them to follow these same steps.
- Regulated hunting and trapping may be used to remove problem coyotes in areas where it is safe and legal to do so.
Contact the DEEP Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011 for more information on coyotes or other wildlife problems.
To report coyote problems and for control information:
Local Animal Control Division (located withing Fairfield’s Police Department): (203) 254-4800
DEEP Wildlife Division: (860) 424-3011
You can also hire a state certified Nuisance Wildlife Control Officer (NWCO.)
List of licensed NWCOs: http://www.ct.gov/dep/lib/dep/wildlife/pdf_files/nwco/nwcodir.pdf
Things to consider when hiring an NWCO: http://www.ct.gov/dep/lib/dep/wildlife/pdf_files/nwco/nwcoguidelinesforhomeowner.pdf
You may also obtain a list of licensed NWCOs from the Wildlife Division by calling (860) 424-3011.
To report animals that are behaving abnormally or are posing an immediate public threat:
Fairfield Police Department (203) 254-4800
DEEP Emergency Dispatch Office (24 hrs.): (860) 424-3333
If you’ve contacted DEEP to report a problem, it would be helpful if you let Paul Miller, Fairfield Animal Control Officer know you filed a report at (203) 254-4857.
I hope you find this information helpful.