Coyotes on Middle Ridge Road Raise Concerns of Denning

Animal Control officials this week are urging Middle Ridge Road residents to use hazing tactics consistently in their neighborhood after an unsettling incident involving three coyotes and two domestic dogs.

At about 5:30 p.m. Monday, a resident of the Hoyt Farms street found three coyotes confronting the dogs—a medium- and large-sized Labradoodle—in the yard, according to Officer Allyson Halm, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section.

Almost immediately after scattering the wildlife by throwing something at them, members of the household saw the same three coyotes come back, Halm said, and the animals appeared to be marking the area.

“The fact that there were three of them is something I am uncomfortable with,” Halm said. “Is it a breeding pair? Why are there three? Coyotes generally are more solitary. So it tells me that there is a possible den area or that they are getting ready to den.”

Coyotes are monogamous and generally breed between January and March, giving birth from April to mid-May following a gestation period of about 63 days, officials say. Coyotes pose no real threat to humans, though they will attack small domestic pets including cats and dogs, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Halm has encouraged residents to use hazing techniques to ward off coyotes, and signs recently have been posted in New Canaan parks warning visitors of coyote activity.

Halm said she urged the homeowners in this case to notify their immediate neighbors and made a personal visit to the home with hazing equipment including Mylar reflective tape.

Because the neighborhood includes natural buffers between homes, Halm said, the area creates a wildlife corridor that animals such as coyotes find attractive. In addition to requesting that the neighbors there learn how to haze consistently across their properties, Halm said she asked one family to remove a disused shed in the woods that may serve as a shelter for the animals.

For now, the Labradoodles that the coyotes were confronting are being restricted to a fenced pool area, Halm said.

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