Fairfax Co. police monitoring coyotes after dog killed in attack

WASHINGTON — Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, are warning pet owners to be careful with small pets after two coyotes attacked and killed a small dog earlier this month.

Police said Animal Protection officers and the a wildlife management specialist are monitoring coyote activity after a small dog was attacked and killed in the forested area of the Parklawn community on May 5.

Police said the animal services division is monitoring coyote activity in the area with searches and game cameras.

Officers are working with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to see if additional actions need to be taken.

Police said reports of aggressive, sick or injured animals should be made to the Fairfax County Animal Protection police through the police nonemergency number at 703-691-2131.

Dogs are vulnerable to coyote confrontations, especially when the dogs are unattended.

While these confrontations can happen year-round, it is more likely to happen during coyote mating season, January through March, and when coyotes are caring for their young from March through August.

Conflicts between humans and coyotes are extremely rare, especially when the coyotes are unprovoked.

Police said the mere presence of coyotes should not be alarming since they are an established part of the wildlife community in Fairfax County.

Here are some things police said you can do to help prevent the likelihood of a confrontation with a coyote:

  • Never feed a coyote.
  • Securely cover your trash bins and compost piles.
  • Do not feed pets outside or store pet food outside.
  • Do not leave your pet unattended, even in a fenced yard.
  • Keep cats indoors.
  • Pick up ripe, fallen fruit and do not let it accumulate on the ground.
  • Keep dogs on short leashes, less than 6 feet, while walking outside.
  • Install motion sensor lights or a motion activated sprinkler around your home.

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