Sterling Heights Residents Concerned About Coyotes After Attack On Dog

"To leave a small dog outside alone, unsupervised – you’re asking for trouble."

WWJ News
October 09, 2019 - 11:34 pm

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STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WWJ) -- Residents gathered at the Sterling Heights Nature Center Wednesday night to learn more about staying safe from coyotes after one recently attacked a dog.

Steve McKay says his neighbor was out for a walk with her golden retriever in Sterling Heights one evening when they were confronted by a coyote.

McKay says the woman and her dog were approached by a coyote and the dog stepped between her and the other animal in a protective mode.

"The coyote got the dog’s head in its mouth and it bit it," McKay told WWJ's Jon Hewett. "They had to go get it stitched up, and that coyote followed them up towards the house and it scared her really bad."

Despite the incident, the message shared at Wednesday night's meeting is that in reality, coyote attacks are quite rare.

Officials shared ways homeowners can avoid confrontations with coyotes, including eliminating outside food sources -- that includes bird feeders and garbage -- as well as clearing out wood and brush piles, which could draw rodents and as a result, coyotes.

As for pets, Sterling Heights Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski offered this:

"To leave a small dog outside alone, unsupervised – you’re asking for trouble."

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says people should never try to intentionally feed coyotes. 

The DNR says if you see a coyote in your area, try to scare it off by yelling, clapping or making other loud noises. Most coyotes are naturally afraid of people and will leave if you frighten them. Coyotes, like any wild animal, can act unpredictably and should be treated with respect and enjoyed from a distance.