Tuesday, May 01, 2012

At least this story has a happy ending

My best friend lives just outside Denver. Sunday night his family endured a traumatic incident. His wife heard growling in the back yard, looked out and saw the silhouettes of two fleeing coyotes. She opened up the back door, looking for the family chihuahua, and he was gone. I can't imagine her terror at that moment.

Fortunately their chihuahua is one smart, tough customer. He escaped and made his way back to the porch. But he was in very bad shape -- two broken ribs and a collapsed lung. It wasn't until last night that they were sure he would make it. But the little warrior is home and barring infection -- no small risk considering the puncture wounds and deep scratches he sustained -- he'll recover.

It's tempting to hate on the coyotes, but they are just doing what comes naturally. We are encroaching on their territory and they are doing what it takes to survive. According to his local paper, the coyotes are especially aggressive this year. If your neighborhood has a coyotes problem, there are things you can do to discourage them from feeling at home in your yard.

• No pet food or water bowls outside ... EVER
• Double or triple bag your garbage
• No fruit bushes or trees
• Install motion-sensitive lights

If after all this, a coyote still comes onto your property, "haze" it. You can be a nuisance without actually hurting them. Toss pebbles at them, spray them with the garden hose, and crash pans together when they come near.

And whatever you don't, don't leave your dog or cat outside unattended, even for a moment! My best friend's yard is surrounded by a high fence, and look what happened anyway.