According to its owner, the small dog was killed by a coyote that “jumped out of bushes in the yard’’ (“Wary of coyotes, resident backs new trapping law’’ Globe West, Oct. 20). Was the yard unfenced? If so, then the coyote had access to that yard and was behaving like a coyote.
Lesson one in learning to live with coyotes is to protect the family pets, and that means keeping cats and small dogs in the house unless the yard is safe for them. It is doubly important in communities where there is known to be ample coyote presence.
Increasing the trapping of coyotes is not the answer. Wildlife studies show that when trapping reduces coyote numbers, then others from other territories move in. What quicker route to increasing the number of human-coyote conflicts?
The Wildlife Protection Act of 1996 addressed the cruelty of traps. Such traps have been known to catch the family pet as well as wildlife; incidents involving death or serious injury to dogs and cats from leg-hold traps are on record with veterinarians around the state. That this law is being challenged once again is a result of a lack of understanding and education.
As habitats are reduced in this state by as much as 40 acres a day and coexistence with wildlife is a fact of life, education is the key, not killing, and that is where the media and animal protection groups and ordinary citizens ought to be putting their energy.
NewEngland Wildlife Center