Date of this Version
An urban coyote (Canis latrans) management program was initiated in Austin, Texas in January 2005 to address citizen’s concerns that coyotes were becoming aggressive towards humans. Although preserving public safety is the fundamental foundation for the program, concomitant program objectives have evolved to include addressing citizens’ high levels of concern regarding predation and attacks on house pets. From the citizen’s perspective, it is unacceptable to ignore this issue, and demands for responsiveness have been heavy. The City of Austin’s program has responded to this public concern in two ways. First, coyote conflicts involving pets are included in the reporting and coyote behavior scoring system. These encounters are then analyzed in terms of public safety impacts. Second, an education/communication program is implemented with a heavy focus on what pet owners can do to protect their pets. Methods for disseminating information regarding techniques and methods for preventing coyote predation on pets include internet websites, city-wide press conferences, education seminars in problem areas, and e-mail and postal mailings of information leaflets to complainants that outline methods that constituents are encouraged to implement to prevent pet predation by coyotes.