Coyotes and alligators are encroaching populated areas and are becoming a danger to humans and their pets. Take precautions and follow these recommendations to protect your animals
Wild predators like coyotes and alligators in southern climates, are becoming a clear and present danger, even in the relative safety of your own backyard. Don't allow your dog or any pet to become the victim of a wild predator, You don't have to live in the wilderness for that to happen. Populated suburban settings are becoming the happy hunting grounds for predators. Every pet owner should be on the look out for and be preparedand quite in virtually any geographic section of the country in some shape or form. The last decades have seen an explosion in their numbers and geographic range. A good case in point are coyotes and alligators.
Over the past decade, coyotes have become increasingly common in all parts of the United States. They have developed a particular fondness for populated suburbs. As scavengers, they have discovered garbage and trash containers, dumpsters and backyards where dog food, water supplies and barbecue leftovers are readily available.
Once coyotes have discovered a food source, they regard that territory as their happy hunting ground and a place to find a guaranteed easy meal. Though they are basically nocturnal, they often lurk in small packs, where they can observe the happenings around suburban backyards.
Those same backyards where our dogs relieve themselves; the same backyards our dogs romp and play in, are the same backyards where coyotes have been patiently observing and drooling in anticipation for a chance at a live snack or a full meal. Your precious pet dog, is nothing more than dinner for hungry coyotes. Small dogs are often targeted, but larger dogs can fall victim to marauding packs of coyotes as well. They have learned to work in tandem to bring down targets larger then themselves. A male coyote can weigh from 25-40 pounds.
How do you guard against this danger and protect your dog? The best way is to be vigilant and on guard every time you let your dog out. Turn your outdoor lights on. Accompany your dog on his outings, and carry a bright flashlight to ward off any intruding animal. If you have actually sighted a coyote nearby, keep your dog on a leash until the coyote is removed from that location. Consider clearing brush away from your lot lines to eliminate hiding places and coyote observation points.
Coyotes are becoming bolder as they lose their fear of humans. Recently, in Punta Gorda, Florida, in two separate incidents, dog owner's watched in horror as coyotes attacked their small dogs while they were walking them on leash down a residential street. Both dogs were killed and carried off into the brush. How could they have prevented the attack? A bright flashlight and perhaps a walking stick could have deterred the coyote's attack. Perhaps pepper spray could hav been used as a deterrent.
In the same neighborhood, a small, poodle mix lap dog was take off the front porch of a home minutes by coyotes after the owner let it out for a tinkle. He had dome it hundreds of times in the past without incident – until the attack. These actions prompted the homeowners in that neighborhood to hire a licensed hunter to remove the coyotes. Eight coyotes were killed by the hunter in 10 days in an abandoned orange grove adjoining the scenes of the two separate incidents.
Coyotes are not the only danger to pets and humans. Florida, with its wide divergence of critters and wild things has issues with alligators. Rather, pet owners and their pets are often victimized by these massive reptiles. An elderly south Florida woman lost her leg to an alligator recently as she tried to shoo it away from her dog. She saved the dog but lost her foot in the process.
Some people foolishly discount the speed and suddenness of an alligator attack. Some even feed the gators, who regard backyards, especially water-front properties, as their feeding ground. Give gators a wide birth, keep pets away from them, and don't even think of feeding them. Call local authorities in animal control to remove the gator. Remember, gators are a protected species - Humans are not.
Be careful, the pet and the life you save can be your own. Your friends and family would much rather see you later, than they would the gator.