NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - There’s been numerous coyote sightings in the Irish Channel, including last week, when one attacked a small dog in the owner’s backyard. Then, one of the wild animals was spotted on camera, as a FOX 8 team was covering the story Monday afternoon (June 24).
The crew was not expecting to see him in the middle of the day, but there he was, just relaxing in a lot in the Irish Channel on Washington Avenue. A wildlife biologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries confirmed the animal was “a very healthy coyote.”
Some neighbors, like Margene Minor, said they have concerns and reason to believe the problem could be growing.
“About a year ago, there was a single brown coyote, a female, basically no problems, because I think she ate the rats and took care of that," Minor said. “Maybe six to eight months ago, a darker male, a primarily black coyote, the one I believe is across the street, showed up, unfortunately the two of them had six cubs or pups.”
Just last week, another neighbor captured an attack on surveillance video.
Less than a block away from where we spotted the black coyote, what appears to be a similar looking coyote attacked a 14-year-old rescue Yorkie named Pump. The coyote grabbed the small dog, even thrashed him around in its mouth before carrying it away. Pump somehow managed to escape without a scratch on him, according to his owner, Stephanie Falgout.
“Luckily, my husband was walking right back out, and I guess it scared him off and he dropped Pump, thank God. And, we took him to the vet and he’s completely fine, no broken bones, no internal injuries,” Falgout said.
Now, signs are up in the neighborhood warning others.
Another resident, Julianna Maricelli, said she’s already spotted the animals and wants something to be done.
“I saw two of them last night, right here, they kind of look skinny so, I feel like they might be new babies, I would prefer them to be gone,” Maricelli said.
Wesley Harwell also lives in the area and said he is concerned for the safety of his pets.
“We don’t really feel safe with our puppies,” Harwell said.
A little over a week ago, Minor said her neighbor heard strange noises under her house. When they went to investigate, Minor said they were greeted with an unpleasant surprise.
“I went over with a large strobe light and we shined it underneath her house, [and] six cubs ran out from underneath the house, the mother had been under there with them,” Minor said.
There are mixed feelings in the neighborhood about how to deal with them.
Minor said she worries about pets being attacked and even more concerning young children.
“I would pray to God nothing like that happened,” Minor said. “Animals have lost their habitat and coyotes don’t belong in an urban setting, it’s not their problem they’re trying to survive, just like any other animal would.”
Wildlife and Fisheries offers these tips for dealing with coyotes:
- Do NOT feed wildlife.
- Identify-the problem. Game cameras are now inexpensive and allow you to properly identify the actual nuisance. Many individuals discover loose dogs are actually the cause of cat and small dog deaths.
- Keep small pets indoor/do not allow pets to run loose (especially dusk and dawn); walk them on a leash
- Feed pets and store pet food indoor. If you must feed your animal(s) outdoor, offer food to your pet for 10-15 minutes in the AM and PM, making certain to remove any leftover food and the bowl after the 15-minute period. This allows your animal ample time to feed. Of course, if your animal needs additional time, allow for such. Be certain to remove food and bowls, though.
- Store garbage cans/trash bins in a garage or secure all garbage/trash bins with inexpensive metal latches that can be purchased at a home improvement store. Do not use bungee cords. Most wildlife species are strong enough to remove or chew through bungee cords.
- Refrain from disposing food scraps/ leftover oil and composting
- Refrain from feeding and remove bird/squirrel feeders. Bird/squirrel feeders serve as reservoirs for predators. If you insist on hanging bird feeders, remove the feeders for three weeks and then replace feeders. Three weeks is typically enough time for predators to locate a new food source.
- Secure domestic livestock, e.g. rabbits, chickens, in elevated cages and/or using ¼” welded wire mesh (≥ .9mm gauge) as foxes and coyotes can chew through smaller gauge wire or pull livestock legs, wings, etc. through mesh greater than ¼”. Any caging on the ground should consist of a perimeter of welded wire mesh (no smaller than .9mm) buried into the ground and bent at a 90-degree angle to prevent wildlife from digging into the enclosure/cage. Electrical fences or wire should be installed at the top (and bottom, if necessary) as well to prevent wildlife from digging or climbing into cage/enclosure.
- Install barriers around exposed decks and sheds & install electrical fencing to prevent coyote denning
- Trim all shrubs & low lying fruit tree branches & remove fallen fruit
- Use electrical fencing on garden perimeters to prevent foraging & denning
- HAZE, HAZE, HAZE*- Do NOT run when you see a coyote. Employ the same tactics you would with bears. Make noise, stomp your feet, make yourself look big-wave your arms, throw any items you might have near you, balls, rocks, or hose them! Install automatic motion sensor sprinklers-shoots a jet of water in the direction of the animal. Hazing is the MOST effective tool for preventing future encounters; however, it must be employed on a continuous basis. Let wildlife know they are not welcome.
- Contact a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (NWCO) if you experience aggressive, fearless coyotes
According to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, hazing uses deterrents to move an animal out of an area or discourages dangerous behavior. Additionally, it can help instill and maintain a fear of humans, hopefully deterring them from spaces like backyards and playground. Experts say the best and simplest methods are to “be loud and large,” by standing tall, waving your arms and yelling.
For more information on coyote hazing, visit the human society’s website for guidelines and more here: humanesociety.org/resources/coyote-hazing