Kate Putnam: More on the Breckenridge coyotes
Meagan was not writing to the entire community to get reprimanded for not keeping her dogs on a leash, she was sharing her very personal and heartbreaking story to let the community know there is a major issue in our area. I am quite certain Meagan is well-informed of the leash laws, as most dog owners in Summit County should be, and as you must know with your knowledge of the leash law, when on private property it does not apply. As Meagan states: “The attack occurred while it was still light out in that section of the trail, in our backyard.”
The coyotes that live in the huge den near the Breckenridge Golf Course are located by Gold Run Road. In order to get there you take a right off of Tiger Road onto Gold Run and follow it all the way to the end where it turns into a dirt trail. There is an old mine at the end of the trail and that is where the coyotes have made their main den. (The den Meagan was referring to was a smaller den by Dyer Trail in the Highlands). Currently, the coyotes have attacked five dogs (this includes Bogart) that I personally know of and three have died as a result (one of the dogs was on a leash in accordance to the leash laws you have so adamantly defended).
We do not read of “lost” pets every day in Summit County we read of pets that have been lured by the coyotes in our neighborhood. The coyotes have become fearless of people. They do not attack because “they feel threatened,” they are usually apprehensive animals and normally run away if challenged. Coyotes become a risk to the public if they have become comfortable around humans, which is why this situation is much more serious than Meagan’s distressing story. When a coyote is no longer afraid of people there is a bigger issue than “lost” pets. It is now becoming a community-wide concern that Meagan was alerting us about in her grief that our young children and pets are not safe to “run free.” Although it is very rare, most of the coyote attacks on humans involve small children under 5 years of age (as far as I know there is no leash law for children).
In her letter, Meagan asks the community to please alert the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Breckenridge Police Department if they see the coyotes. So that these wild animals can be relocated to a place where they can run free and hunt for survival and not put our young children and domesticated animals in danger.
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