Kettering police warn of increase in coyote sightings. How can you stay safe?

Coyotes are valuable predators and help maintain a balance of wildlife within an ecosystem, said the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

An increase in reported coyote sightings prompted Kettering police to warn residents and share safety tips.

“We are seeing more wildlife during daylight in search of food and habitat. Wildlife has learned to live with us. Please, do not feed wildlife,” the Kettering Police Department said. “This may result in animals exhibiting abnormal behavior which could lead to euthanization to protect residents. Destroying wildlife only opens space for new animals to move in.”

Brett Beatty, a wildlife management supervisor for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife, said coyote populations appear to be stable but frequent sightings are normal for this time of year due to their breeding season when they become more active to defend their territories.

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A lack of vegetation, harvested crops, missing leaves on trees, shrubberies and other winter conditions such as snow can make coyotes easier to spot, especially as they search for resources, Beatty added.

He recommended to homeowners avoid leaving out food sources, protect trash, keep cats inside and dogs close to houses and to turn on lights at night to check for coyotes before letting dogs outside.

People can also “haze” by making themselves bigger and creating loud noises to discourage coyotes and keep doing it until they leave the area.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Kettering police reminded residents it is illegal to kill, poison, trap or relocate coyotes in the city.

Police recommended the following safety tips:

  • Cats should be kept indoors or in a secure enclosure.
  • Dogs should be walked on a 6-foot leash or kept in coyote-proof fencing (6 feet high with reinforced bottom and coyote rollers along the top).
  • Keep your yard free from debris and trash.
  • Keep grills clean.
  • Freeze potentially foul-smelling trash before discarding.
  • Compost in containers with lids.
  • Do not leave food or pet food outside.
  • Use motion sensor lighting and/or sprinklers.

“Coyotes are highly unlikely to attack people; but always watch your children and do not run if approached by a coyote,” police said.

The department also recommended “hazing” to deter coyotes or to discourage behavior and actions. It can help maintain animals’ fear of humans and keep them away from neighborhood spaces, police said.

People can also do the following to deter coyotes and other animals:

  • Yelling
  • Waving arms to look big
  • Banging pots and pans
  • Spraying a hose or a super soaker
  • Using whistles or air horns.

“Make sure the animal can get away from you and never haze or approach a sick or injured animal,” police said.

Coyotes are about 25 to 35 pounds but their appearance of bushy coats and long legs may make them appear larger, the police department said. They eat rodent, rabbits, fruits and use howling as a form of communication. Mating season goes from January to March where coyote pairs will den with pups for six weeks and raise them until autumn.

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