Patty Wilde has been a resident of Westlake since 1978 but until 18 months ago, had never seen a coyote.
But in the last three months, Johnny Boy, the Hilliard Boulevard resident’s small Jack Russell, has been attacked twice in her own backyard.
“I recently moved to Hilliard Boulevard, previously living off of Crocker Road near St. John Westshore Hospital,” Wilde said. “In the last 18 months, I saw two coyotes while living off of Crocker and now on Hilliard. I had seen one after I first moved to my Hilliard home sometime in January of this year.”
Fortunately, she was keenly alert when letting her Jack Russell out in her yard, which is deep. The dog's quickness may have saved its life.
“(The dog) is small and fast,” Wilde said. “There were two coyotes; they bit him on both sides.,” she said. Wilde turned on a flashlight to scare the coyotes. Johnny Boy was taken to an emergency veterinarian who cleaned out the puncture wounds.
The dog was attacked a second time in Wilde’s backyard by one coyote while she was nearby.
“People have to be diligent if they have small animals,” she said. “They are getting bolder; I was sitting on my back porch.”
“Yet in spite of that he has still been attacked,” she said.
Johnny Boy survived and is fine, Wilde said.
“I stay very diligent when he's out at night now,” she said. “We never let him out without us, but it's to the point now with this second close encounter that I don't even want him to go out at all.”
Wilde said she heard of another instance of a dog being attacked as its owners walked with him on the golf course at Westwood at dusk.
“The dog was running about 35 feet ahead of the his owners and he was attacked by two coyotes with the owners right there,” Wilde said. The dog lived but Wilde noted that coyotes are “being pretty bold now.”
“I'm not blaming them,” she said. “Just acutely aware of them.”
How to manage coyotes
The Westlake Police Department said coyote sightings in Westlake are not that uncommon and have suggestions to avoid a coyote encounter.
“The city of Westlake wants citizens to be educated about coyote sighting and encounters,” a posting by the department says on the city website.
The notice say coyotes usually live in groups of four to eight and generally roam at night.
“They usually feed on small animals, insects, and fruit, although they prefer rodents and rabbits,” according to the notice. “Coyotes are important helpers to the overpopulation of deer, geese and other small nuisance wildlife.”
The Westlake Police department recommends the following actin if you spot a coyote in your neighborhood or near your home:
- Frighten coyotes with loud noise·
- Keep garbage in a tightly sealed container
- Use yard lights and motion detectors to frighten them away
- Keep pets in fenced areas and covered kennels
- Keep landscape from becoming overgrown. Enclose under decks and out buildings
Fear of humans is important for coyote survival. Coyotes are usually skittish around humans and typically try to avoid people whenever possible. If you encounter a coyote:
- Never feed or attempt to tame a coyote
- Do not turn your back on a coyote or run away from a coyote
- If approached, make loud noises and make yourself look big. If this fails, throw rocks or other objects
- Always keep yourself between coyote and small children or pets
- Don't feed other animals that coyote prey upon. Bird seed often attracts these innocent animals to your backyard, which in turn, attracts a coyote that is hungry.
The city offers the following suggestions and recommends contacting animal control officer Jim Wang at 440-871-3311 with concerns.