How to protect pets from coyotes in Massachusetts | Coyote

How to protect pets from coyotes

Photo accompanying step 1

Coyote threat response diagram - what to do about coyotes

Attacks often occur at night on cats left outside to wander and small dogs that are out in yards with invisible fences. Coyotes will also attack larger dogs they perceive as rivals during mating season.

To avoid attacks on pets:

  • Keep cats indoors and dogs leashed and supervised whenever outside, especially at night
  • A coyote-proof kennel or fence (6-foot high fencing with the bottom extending two feet underground, to prevent digging) provides the best protection for pets
  • Keep dogs leashed and stay in open, well-lit areas
  • Light your yard when pets are outside.
  • Store pet food indoors or at least in a coyote-proof container
  • Avoid areas frequented by coyotes or that are known den sites
  • If followed or approached by a coyote, get your pet safely inside but do not run or turn your back. If you can’t go inside, act aggressively by shouting, waving your arms, or throwing objects to reinforce the threat. Carrying an air-horn or pepper spray may be considered for those seeking further protection.
  • Screen off openings under sheds and decks using sturdy galvanized wire or hardware cloth attached to the lower edge then buried underground, slanting outward 1 to 2 feet
  • Supervise small pets when outside and walk dogs on a leash. Cats should be kept indoors and not allowed to roam free. In rare instances, larger dogs can be viewed as a threat particularly from January to June during mating and pup rearing seasons.

Coyotes causing severe damage to pets or livestock, or posing a threat to public health and safety, may be removed through regulated in-season trapping and hunting, or outside the season. In some cases, special permits issued by state wildlife agencies to professional nuisance wildlife trappers may be required for dealing with human wildlife conflicts outside the season. Trapping coyotes requires advanced training and trapping skills and traps need to be set and checked in accordance with state laws.

Although rare, coyotes can carry rabies. Vaccinate pets and contact your veterinarian if your pet is attacked by coyotes. Report any suspected rabid coyote to local police and report any bites, scratches, or other exposure to a health professional for treatment advice.

Legal, Regulated Hunting in Massachusetts

Legal, Regulated Hunting in Massachusetts

The use of legal, regulated, hunting by licensed hunters can be useful for reducing local wildlife populations and can help reduce nuisance problems in Massachusetts. You can allow hunters on to your property, provide a place for them to park to access nearby forest, and/or give them permission to hunt within 500 feet of your residence. Please also keep in mind that each town may have additional by-laws that restrict hunting and the discharge of firearms.

Laws and regulations to be aware of

Regulations for Massachusetts

Legal, Regulated Trapping

The use of legal, regulated, trapping by licensed trappers can be useful for reducing local wildlife populations and can help reduce nuisance problems in Massachusetts.

While we attempt to provide guidance about state and federal regulations pertaining to specific species and control techniques, we do not provide information about local jurisdictions (city, town, county, etc.) where regulations may be more restrictive, especially as it applies to discharge of firearms, transport of animals or use of trapping equipment. Contact your local city or county government to inquire further. No guarantee is made that information (or lack of information) associated with a species or control technique is completely accurate or current. You should become familiar with federal, state and local laws before beginning any wildlife control activities.

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