St. Paul city officials sent out an unusual urban warning this morning: beware of coyotes.
The statement said:
Urban communities provide an abundant source of food for coyotes which have migrated into cities like Saint Paul in recent decades. In addition to natural prey such as rabbits, mice, voles, squirrels, carrion, and even deer, coyotes will eat vegetables from gardens and food left out by humans for wild or domesticated animals. Sightings have recently increased and spring is the season when coyotes are most aggressive.
Residents told Council President Kathy Lantry that coyotes had been threatening their pets during walks in Battle Creek Park.
And Council Member Chris Tolbert said: “I have also received complaints of coyote activity in Highland Park and, unfortunately, coyotes have been in Highland Park, Como and throughout the city for many years.”
You can’t shoot them inside the city limits, and leg traps are illegal in the city, so here are the city’s suggestions:
- Don’t provide a food source. Experts insist that residents should never feed coyotes. “If you keep a dog dish full of dog food outside at night, logically this will attract coyotes to your yard,” Council President Lantry said.
- Haze or annoy the animals if you see them. If you see coyotes in your yard, haze them. Examples of this include banging on a pot and pan, throwing a stick or rock at them, yelling at the animal, whistling at them, or spraying them with hoses or pepper spray. Do not make them feel welcome and be persistent and consistent in hazing them.
- Be mindful of the law. St. Paul ordinance requires a leash on all dogs for good reason. Keeping your pets, especially small ones, on a leash when outside at all times will go a long way to ensuring they do not wander off and find themselves around an aggressive coyote. Ultimately, the only way to assure that your pet is totally safe from coyotes or other predators is to keep them inside.
Be careful. It’s a jungle out there.