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Article Published January 16, 2020

Increased Coyote Sightings in Branford, North Branford: Pets at Risk

By Pam Johnson/

Branford/North Branford's Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter is alerting residents to a higher number of calls regarding coyote sightings in residents' yards and warning them to not leave cats and dogs alone outside. The activity may be due in part to the current mating season while warmer than average winter temperatures could contribute to a rise in coyote numbers during this season's birth cycle, the shelter noted in a post on its Facebook page which is asked to have shared on Jan. 14.

The shelter is also asking the public to be "diligent and responsible" and cautioning pet owners not to leave dogs and cats outside on their own.

"We, along with the Police Departments, have been receiving quite a bit of phone calls about coyote sightings and coyotes in people's yards. Coyotes live amongst us. Many times, especially this time of year, but also all year long they are out during the day. Right now is their mating they are looking for partners and food. In March they will start giving birth to their babies. Because we have had a warmer than average winter , many of the babies will most likely survive and so will their parents. Coyotes can give birth to 4-7 babies in a litter."

According to information shared by CT Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) at its website ( coyotes will adapt to take advantage of food sources found in and around  developed areas including wooded suburbs, parks, beaches, and office parks. DEEP states a coyote's diet consists "...predominantly of mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, deer, some fruits, carrion, and when available, garbage. Some coyotes will also prey on small livestock, poultry, and small pets. In Connecticut, unsupervised pets, particularly outdoor cats and small dogs (less than 25 pounds) are vulnerable to coyote attacks."

Cosgrove Animal Shelter is reminding residents not to leave dogs and cat outside alone, including dogs in fenced-in areas and those in electrified fence areas.

"Coyotes will jump over even high fences, so please alert your neighbors that they should not feel overly comfortable just because they have a fenced in yard," the shelter stated.