KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – At Bark of the Town, a dog groomer in Knoxville, animal safety is a top priority.
When the salon’s owner, Tonia Smith, learned one of her customer’s dogs was killed by a coyote, it hit close to home.
“I was shocked. I started telling all my customers to have their dogs on leases after dusk. And always be outside with them, never to let them roam after dusk not until the sun comes up,” said Smith.
What resonated with Smith was how close her client lived to her shop and her home, all in the area of Middlebrook Pike.
Smith says she’s heard of clients and friends more recently dealing with coyote sightings in populated housing developments.
Doug Ashe with Classic Animal Control said.he responds to calls about coyotes in housing developments and even near strip malls. He says coyotes are becoming more comfortable with how easy it is to get food from trash cans or even pet food let outside overnight.
Ashe says to avoid coyotes, it could be as simple as keeping pet food inside.
“We never let the dogs out without being out with them, we always keep an eye on it. We’re out there. We bring them in when we come in,” said Smith.
Smith says she installed a doggy door and doggy run at her business when she first opened six years ago, but since then she’s realized the potential danger for animals to come and go freely without supervision. She said she monitors every dog at the salon because she doesn’t want to risk any wildlife targeting the animals.
“That it could attack your animal or even yourself, you should be prepared and always be on the lookout for them,” said Smith.
Some of the things TWRA says you can do to keep them from approaching your home are:
- Do not feed coyotes!! When coyotes begin associating humans with food they loose their natural fears and may become dangerous.
- Eliminate water sources. These areas attract rodents, birds, and snakes which the coyote will prey upon.
- Position bird feeders so coyotes can not get to the feed. Coyotes may also be attracted to birds and small mammals that have been lured in by the feeder.
- Do not discard edible garbage. Coyotes are opportunistic and will eat any table scraps.
- Secure garbage containers. Use trash barrels with lids that clamp down tight even when tipped over.
- Do not place trash cans out the night before scheduled pick-up. Placing cans out in the morning before pick-up will give coyotes less time to scavenge. They will not have cover of darkness.
- Do not leave barbecue grill outside and uncovered. The smell of the grill and the contents of the grills drip pan attracts coyotes.
- Feed pets indoors whenever possible. Remove any leftovers if feeding outdoors. Store pet food in areas not accessible to other animals.
- Clear brush and weeds from around property. This deprives the coyote’s prey (small mammals and birds) of protective cover and deters coyote from hunting around your property.
- A fenced yard may deter coyotes. The fence must be at least 6 feet high. Preferably the bottom of the fence should extend 6 inches below ground level.
- Do not leave small children outside alone if coyotes have been frequenting the area.
- Do not allow pets to run free. Provide secure housing especially at night. Small pets (cats, rabbits, small dogs) are favorite prey of coyotes.
- Discourage coyotes from frequenting your area. Harass them by throwing rocks, shouting, and making loud noises when one is seen.