Some New London residents are unnerved after a family said a coyote attacked and killed their dog on the city’s south side this past weekend.
The death follows a string of coyote sightings recently in that part of New London, including at least one other dog death.
Now people are asking if the city is planning on taking additional precautions to protect against the wild animal.
“People are just saying, ‘Oh, they won’t hurt kids. Trust me they will. Somebody’s gonna get hurt,” exclaimed Jacqueline Taitague, who is mourning the loss of her Bichon, Poochie. She said a coyote attacked and killed Poochie Saturday.
She’s pleading for New London to do something about the coyotes. She said her kids are now afraid to go to the bus stop or play outside.
“They’re saying, ‘Mom, we can’t go outside now and play because the coyote’s going to eat us like they did to Poochie,’” Taitague said.
Another family on the south side of the city said a coyote mauled their pup, but he survived.
“You know, I want to be able to come outside and play and not worry about them taking off and the coyote – because it would be scary,” said Katie Hallisey of New London.
She lives on Chapel Drive and worries about her kids coming face-to-face with a coyote. This last weekend Hallisey said one ran past her and her son. Another time her husband was in the yard with their two German Shepherds and three coyotes started moving in on them.
But when it comes to ridding of coyotes, New London Mayor Michael Passero said his hands are somewhat tied. The city’s animal control is not able to handle coyotes and the city doesn’t meet the requirements to get a special permit through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), which would allow the city to hire a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator to take care of the problem.
That operator would put out metal foothold traps to catch the coyote, then humanely kill it, according to Dennis Schain, a spokesperson for DEEP.
The qualifications for the special permit include when coyotes are reported attacking supervised pets – like one on a leash – in yards, attacking livestock/poultry within fenced areas, or when “coyotes aggressively approach and threaten a person due to habituation, food conditioning, etc.,” wrote Schain in an email to NBC Connecticut.
Mayor Passero also said homes are too close together in New London.
“It would be a danger that the trap’s going to catch a dog or a child,” he said.
“We have been working with DEEP to make sure we do not have a threat to the public safety,” Passero added. He’s also working with police to get the word out about coyote safety precautions, and continues to report all coyote incidents to DEEP.
New London resident Lori Rembetski will not let her dog Freddie off a leash, but said a trap might not be the right solution.
She said city officials should try to find the den and find a way to relocate the coyotes. They’re too comfortable in the city. When people try to take pictures of them, they don’t back away.
“It’s a wild animal, they should be running away from the person. Not just hanging out,” Rembetski said.