Foxes, coyotes a year-round pet owner concern
SUMMIT COUNTY – Coyotes and foxes seen frequently in the High Country may seem like fairly harmless and beautiful creatures, but they are in fact predators that will feed upon domestic animals.”If you’re going to let pets outdoors, they’re definitely susceptible,” said Shannon Schwab, district wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. “Year-round is the time for (pet owners) to be thinking about foxes and coyotes.”Nancy Ring, executive director for the Summit County Animal Shelter, said the shelter has at least 29 dogs and 39 cats that have been reported missing in the last 30 days, and less than half of the owners have reported that they’re pets have been found.
“What is alarming is when there is evidence that their animal might have been snagged by a predator,” Ring said, commenting that some owners have heard the pet make loud sounds prior to their disappearance or found tufts of fur after pets have gone missing.Ring said most of the missing pets are cats and small dogs.Schwab said it wouldn’t be as common for a fox or coyote to get a dog the size of a Labrador, but in rural areas with a lot of coyotes, it is a possibility.She added that not only could these predators eat pets, they can also cause significant injuries.
Schwab said she would advise people not to feed foxes and coyotes, which is illegal and draws the animals to residential areas. She also said people should keep pet food cleaned up outside and get rid of attractants around the house, such as garbage and bird feeders.Pet owners should also keep an eye on dogs and cats outside, and when hiking on trails, dogs should be kept under verbal control or on a leash.If a pet does go missing, Ring said the first step is to call the shelter at (970) 668-3230 to see if it’s there.”It’s also very important that people come take a look, since … there have been instances that prohibit us from readily putting together a lost report,” she said.
Ring also said that coming to the shelter is a good idea, because sometimes animal descriptions aren’t entirely accurate. One stray cat was reported as having medium-length hair and was actually a short-haired cat.She added that microchipping is a really good idea in case pets do become lost and get taken to the shelter.Jennifer Harper can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 248, or at email@example.com.
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