- Last Updated on 04:44 PM 05/29/12
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
Coyotes are becoming more than just unseen nuisances with a number of coyote sightings recently reported in the Town of Halifax and surrounding areas.
In an effort to educate and inform the public about an increasing population of coyotes in the county, a seminar will be held Friday, June 15, at 6 p.m. at the Scottsburg Fire Department.
All farmers, landowners and homeowners are invited to learn more about coyotes’ impact to wildlife and agriculture, a Virginia research project update, bounties, hunting options for the coyote and an opportunity will be presented to participate in an expert panel discussion.
The seminar has been prompted by a recent increase in coyote sightings, according to Acting Halifax Police Chief David Irby.
Halifax authorities have received 12 calls since Jan. 1 about coyote sightings in and around the Town of Halifax.
“Several town residents have expressed concern over the issue,” Irby said.
Coyotes are about the size of a medium-sized dog with thick and long hair that varies from blonde, a light reddish-brown grayish black or black. Coyotes are typically seen at dusk but can be spotted any time of the day. Their habitats change depending on where they can find food, he said.
Residents can take precautions to prevent coyotes, and if they spot a coyote, they should notify the Halifax County Animal Control at 572-4292, Halifax Dispatch at 476-3334 or Halifax Police Department at 476-2526,” said Halifax Town Manager Carl Espy.
To help prevent coyotes, everyone should remove access to unnatural food resources. Do not leave an abundance of pet food outside. Leave enough food for your pet to eat in a short period of time. Secure all lids and cans to outside trashcans, Espy said.
“If there is a coyote on your property, defend your living space. First make sure you are in an area you can escape easily from. Then throw non-edible objects toward the coyote letting it know it’s not welcome,” he added.
“Remember, according to law, coyotes may be killed at anytime except coyotes may not be killed with a gun, firearm or other weapon on Sunday,” Espy said.
“This will be an issue I’d like to see handled as collaboratively as possible among all our jurisdictions through the state and local agencies directly involved,” he added.
“I very much welcome the town working with Halifax County and those county and state agencies which can help coordinate the safe removal of these nuisance animals as the new provision of Virginia Law takes effect on July 1,” the town manager said.
Halifax officials pointed out coyotes in other eastern states have attacked and severely injured small toddlers when left unattended for a small amount of time.
“There are very few cases where a non-rabid coyote has attacked a human unprovoked. Most attacks are on small children due to hunger or their territorial nature to exclude small animals from their territory,” Irby said.
“As far as pets, keep small animals on leash or in an enclosed area. However, keep in mind that coyotes can jump a fence less than seven feet and can climb fencing that does not have an outward slanting overhang,” he added.
The Town of Halifax Police Department will continue to work with Halifax County Animal Control to help verify any sightings and evidence of coyote predation within and surrounding the town’s corporate limits, Espy added.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries brochure will be circulated at the Halifax Farmers Market and e-mailed to residents signed up for town notifications.
Depending on the interest following the June 15 presentation, Fisher may conduct another class in the future held either at the Halifax County Extension Office, Halifax Town Hall or the Halifax Volunteer Fire Department. The town plans to sponsor this presentation.
“This will be an issue I’d like to see handled as collaboratively as possible among all our jurisdictions through the state and local agencies directly involved,” Espy said.
In the meantime, Espy plans to work with Acting Chief Irby to review the town’s current code sections regarding dangerous or vicious animals, hunting, fishing and trapping provisions and the discharge of firearms within the town.
“I very much welcome the town working with Halifax County and those county and state agencies which can help coordinate the safe removal of these nuisance animals as the new provision of Virginia Law takes effect on July 1,” Espy concluded.