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Coyote attack in Las Vegas raises concerns over pet safety

Coyote attack image
Posted at 4:10 PM, Oct 25, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Pet owners beware! A coyote attacked a small dog in an east Las Vegas backyard leaving it seriously injured. It’s another reminder of how our growing community encroaches on wildlife and its habitat.

A dog barked at a coyote that jumped into a backyard in an east side neighborhood near Hollywood Boulevard and Desert Inn Road. The coyote was seen attacking another dog in a video provided by an employee at 13 Action News. That dog was seriously hurt.

“Events like that can be quite traumatic.”

Doug Nielsen with the Nevada Department of Wildlife says coyotes attacks on small pets are nothing new. The Southern Nevada office received 260 coyote-related calls last year most coming in the fall months.

“The temperatures are a lot more comfortable, so you see more and more people are out than just a month ago, and so with wildlife, it’s kind of the same thing,” he said.

RELATED STORY: Coyote kills Henderson man's dog in the backyard

Nielson says coyotes usually hunt small rodents or rabbits during the dawn and dusk hours. They could attack small pets thinking they’re a threat to their territory or are extremely hungry and taking advantage of an opportunity.

“They really can’t tell the difference between a four-footed dog or a four-footed rabbit. To them it’s just something moving and looks edible,” he said.

Nielsen says people should understand coyotes have lived in the desert way before anyone built their homes.

“Coyotes are part of the Mojave Desert and they’ve been here who knows how many thousands of years, right?” he said.

He says this means pet owners should make choices— to ensure their pets remain safe.

“I definitely would go outside with them in an area where coyote activity is present, especially during those dusk to dawn hours,” he said.

He says coyotes have no trouble scaling six-foot walls or fences. Homeowners could install coyote rollers to prevent them from jumping on walls or using other means. Our 13 Investigates team led by chief investigator Darcy Spears took center stage in a legislative hearing where coyote rollers were talked about as ways to protect your pets.

“Options would be to raise the fence either with additional block or decorative wrought iron but people should work with their homeowner’s association to determine what those possibilities might be,” Nielsen said.

He says pet food may attract prey coyotes hunt for or coyotes themselves.

“If we feed our pets and don’t clean up the leftovers, that’s also an attractant.”

He says while we can’t change coyote behavior much, homeowners can keep their pets in check to keep them safe.

“If we make the adjustments we need to make, we can minimize the chance of an unpleasant encounter for our pets with a coyote or another animal for that matter,” he said.

Wildlife officials say if you see a coyote in your backyard you should scare it and shoo it away to condition it not to come into your backyard.