Coyote attack: Animal Control Officer urges pet owners to be vigilant

It’s an active time of year for wildlife in Trumbull, and that can lead to some encounters and potential dangers for pets, according to Animal Control Officer Lynn Dellabianca.

Last week, a resident who lives in the Cobblers Hill Road area, close to the Shelton line, let three smaller breed dogs out at night. One of the dogs was attacked and killed by coyotes. It is not uncommon this time of year, according to Dellabianca. Pet owners need to be careful, she said.

“Coyotes are a bigger predator and looking for anything small, like a dog or cat that is unattended,” Dellabianca said. “We believe that’s what happened last week.”

In some cases, pets may just disappear and owners can’t be sure what happened, but in this case, the body of the dog was found nearby. Dellabianca said the owners likely scared the coyote when they came looking for the dog, so the body was left behind.

In the last week, another report on social media said a Labrador was attacked by coyotes in town.

“I have heard of that kind of thing before, if there is more than one coyote,” Dellabianca said of larger dogs getting attacked. “Nature is nature. If the coyote is hungry enough, it might go for a bigger dog, but often it is the 10- to 15-pound dogs that are easy prey.”

Being vigilant and not letting your dogs go out unsupervised is key, Dellabianca said. Coyotes are quite common around town and can live in any small wooded area, within neighborhoods.

“Even if you may not see them around, rest assured they are there,” Dellabianca said. “They are really raising their young right among neighborhoods.”

The best way to discourage coyotes becoming comfortable or used to your neighborhood is to remove all potential food sources, like dog food, or brush piles that may attract small vermin. If you see coyotes in your neighborhood or on your property Dellabianca recommends “hazing” to get the coyotes to move out.

“Make noise, throw something and let them know, ‘I’m not friendly and I don’t want you around here,’” Dellabianca said. “They will start going back into the woods. The problem is when they lose that fear.”

Any danger posed to humans is extremely rare. Last year Dellabianca responded to a call of a coyote acting in a threatening way to a person and a large dog on a leash in the woods. Dellabianca believes that coyote had rabies, leading to the unusual behavior. Still, if a coyote’s den is nearby, it may watch a person or dog on a leash, but it is more likely to keep its distance.
Other wildlife

It is not uncommon to see all kinds of Trumbull wildlife out this time of year. Bobcats — usually more secretive — have been spotted more frequently this season, she said.

Residents shouldn’t be worried if they see raccoons, foxes or coyotes out and about during the day. Many are mothers searching for food. However, any strange behavior should be reported to police or Animal Control at 203-452-5088.

It’s also a common time of year to see baby deer alone. Does often leave baby deer unattended for several hours, so residents shouldn’t immediately be worried if they see a fawn on its own.

“Everything is breeding right now, so it’s a very active time of year,” she said.

When it comes to protectng small pets in town, coyotes aren’t the only concern. Fisher cats, hawks and eagles can pose a threat to pets, Dellabianca said.

Trapping wildlife and moving it to a new location isn’t the answer, Dellabianca said.

“You are just opening up that territory for something else to move in,” she said.

The best way to avoid wild animal conflicts: Avoid feeding wild animals.

“You are really setting an animal up for failure and creating potential problems for people if you feed them,” she said.

Visit for more on the state’s wildlife and tips for avoiding human-animal conflicts.