Recently, the Blandford Animal Control Officer has received multiple calls about coyotes in yards. Unfortunately, these calls were in response to the loss of life for two cats and a new born lamb. Please take a moment to read what you can do to keep your animals safe. February is mating season and coyotes will be more aggressive and persistent this time of year.

Coyotes are wary animals who will avoid people at all costs. The increased coyote sightings in town have created concerns about peoples’ safety in their backyards. Coyote attacks on humans are rare in Massachusetts. During the last 60 years, there have been less than 10.

The prospect of an easy meal can bring coyotes into yards. Coyotes are also drawn to an area by the availability of small mammals, which are attracted to the same food sources. If a coyote does appear in your yard, don’t try to approach it or its pups.

To make your property less attractive to coyotes, follow these steps:

  • Don’t leave pet food outdoors. If you must feed pets outdoors, provide only the amount your pet will consume in one feeding.
  • Secure your garbage. Coyotes are capable of knocking over trashcans and tearing open trash bags left in the open.
  • Pick up fallen fruit. Fruit that has fallen to the ground and left to rot can be appealing to wildlife, including coyotes.
  • Don’t feed coyotes. Feeding ultimately alters the animals’ behavior. They become dependent upon and less wary of humans.
  • Keep pets indoors. A roaming cat or small dog can be perceived as prey by coyotes. There have been cases of unattended small dogs and cats being taken by a coyote.

Local farmers and MA Environmental Police offer the following non-lethal suggestions:

  • Walk property with your own dog(s) and let them mark the area. Give your dogs lots of water and go get some exercise.
  • Put dog fur around the property. If anyone in Blandford wants bags of dog fur, I have access to an awesome dog groomer and can deliver. Priority will be given to livestock farmers who want to try this approach. Contact: [email protected] or call (413) 848-4279, ext. 308.
  • Loud noises such as air horns will sometimes scare them away.
  • Coyotes can easily jump a 4′ fence. If installing fencing, consider 6′ in height and lay down welded wire on the base to prevent critters from digging under.
  • If you have an electric fence for your farm animals, turn it up as high as it will go.

For more information:

Mass Wildlife – Prevent conflicts with coyotes

Humane Society of United States – What to do about coyotes?

MSPCA – Co-existing with coyotes

Facebook: Check out Blandford Animal Control page for news about lost and found animals as well as other animal related stories.

Information provided by the Blandford Animal Control Officer.