Animal Services offers reminders about coexisting safely with coyotes

ORANGE COUNTY, NC (February 9, 2018)—Orange County Animal Services has recently received concerns from members of the public about the presence of coyotes, and is reminding County residents how to coexist with coyotes and other wildlife.

Coyotes can pose a threat to smaller animals, such as cats and toy size dogs, especially if these animals are left outside unattended. Animal Services stresses the importance of keeping small dogs and cats inside or leashed and supervised while they are outside. Outdoor animals make easy prey and can be inviting to coyotes. Collars for pets should not have bells or other noisy attachments, as this can also draw unwanted attention.

Animal Services Director Bob Marotto said residents can take several steps to keep coyotes at a safe distance. “Keeping properties clear of food and scraps is critical,” Marotto said. “Residents should avoid feeding wildlife or domesticated animals outside if possible, and ensure scraps are disposed in a way that does not attract coyotes and other wildlife.”

Marotto also noted that coyotes can carry rabies and, recently, there have been a few laboratory confirmed rabies cases in North Carolina. Coyotes with rabies can become aggressive toward humans.

For protection against all wildlife that carry rabies, please make sure your pets are current on their rabies vaccinations. Be sure to contact Animal Control at 919.942.7387 in the event of contact between a household pet and a coyote. For after-hours Animal Control emergencies, including potential rabies exposures or animal bites to humans, please call 9-1-1 to be connected to the on-call Animal Control Officer.

Practicing recommended hazing techniques for any coyotes that are spotted will help them maintain an appropriate level of fear and wariness around humans and domesticated pets. It is recommended that people always frighten a coyote if they come into contact with it to avoid habituation. Loud and startling noises should be made so coyotes remain untrusting of humans. Household items like pots and pans that are easily accessible can work nicely for this.

Coyote-proof fencing and other barriers also exist and usually consist of a fence that is 6 feet tall with a roller bar at the top. These can be purchased or built by homeowners in areas where other measures are not successful. 

For information about coexisting with coyotes, please visit the Animal Services website. Please call the NC Wildlife Helpline at 866.318.2401 if you have a wildlife problem or concern. This helpline is staffed with trained biologists who provide general information about wildlife and their behavior, guidance on how to deal with wildlife damage, and much more.

If residents witness coyotes engaging in threatening behavior or becoming habituated in residential areas, they can access the Coyote Incident Reporting Form or call Animal Services at 919.942.7387.