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Precautions to Avoid Problems With Coyotes

City of Fairfax Police Animal Control Officers are advising City residents to take precautions to avoid problems with the City’s small resident coyote population. Coyotes have been living in the city for many years and generally are not a danger to humans unless the animals are sick, injured or threatened. However, a dog off the leash -- which most likely got too close to a coyote den -- was attacked by three coyotes in Daniels Run Park. Dog owners are reminded to keep their dogs on the leash at all times at city parks and on city streets. (Leash laws and pooper-scooper laws are in effect at all city parks.) Also, dogs and their owners both should stay on the established trails in city parks to avoid areas where the coyote dens may be located.

If a person is approached by a coyote, making a lot of noise (clapping, yelling and stomping feet) typically will scare off the coyote. It is important to remember they approach humans (and pets with humans) only under unusual circumstances. For more information about dealing with coyotes and other wildlife, contact Dage Blixt, USDA Wildlife Management Program, at 703-897-7488.

Coyotes will eat cats, small dogs and other small pets. Coyotes do most of their hunting at night. Therefore, owners of dogs, cats and small pets should not leave these pets outdoors unattended, especially at night. Residents can help discourage coyotes from coming on their property by not leaving pet food outdoors and by securing all household trash.

If a coyote appears to be sick, injured or acting aggressively, contact Animal Control immediately. For information call 703-385-7924. For additional information on coyotes see http://fairfaxva.gov/animals/FQA.asp#2.