MANSFIELD (CBSDFW.COM) – A new predator is moving in on pets in Mansfield: Coyotes.
Paula Fox’s dog, Jake, barely survived an attack by a coyote as he played in their front yard. Fox’s other dog LeeLee alerted her husband who arrived just in time to save Jake.
“The coyote was pretty defiant. He scared the coyote away and it ran off behind the house,” said Fox.
Jake had several broken ribs and multiple cuts, but after several surgeries, he’s recovering. Mansfield veterinarians say they’ve seen a steady increase of attacks on pets since August, but not all have survived the attack.
Mansfield Animal Control has gotten several complaints.
Though they did not have an exact number, Belinda Willis, Marketing and Communications Director for the city of Mansfield, said it has become enough of a problem that Animal Control is addressing the issue with city council in a meeting Monday night.
The coyote population is the highest it’s ever been, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife. With a dwindling wolf population, coyotes have no natural predators.
“A lot of people will put out their trash the night before and we’re pretty much offering them a buffet of food so they’ve learned now to hunt for food in our neighborhoods,” said Dr. Linsday Beckendorf, a veterinarian at Country Club Pet Hospital.
Any pet less than 20 pounds is perfect prey for a coyote.
Reports of coyotes jumping neighborhood fences to get to pets have become commonplace, Beckendorf said.
But the biggest concern now for Mansfield residents and wildlife experts now say the concern is that local coyotes have lost their fear of people.
“Could it be toddlers that are out in their front yard, 10 feet away from their parents, next?” asked Beckendorf. The other concern for vets is if a dog gets bitten by a coyote with rabies and survives, an entire family could be exposed to it.
For residents like Fox, it wasn’t the first time she’s dealt with coyotes. Her dog LeeLee was attacked two months ago.
“It grabbed her in the back of the neck so she had two puncture wounds. Not nearly what happened to Jake,” she said. “We called the city. We asked them, but they do not trap coyotes.”
Now residents are hoping the city can help find a way to help keep their animals safe.
Once coyotes are comfortable approaching people and lose their fear of people, the only solution, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife, is to eliminate the aggressive coyotes. But Texas Parks and Wildlife cannot take action until it gets the go-ahead from the city.
Texas Parks and Wildlife plans a forum with representatives from the city of Mansfield and residents on March 27.