AKRON, OH (WOIO) - It's breeding season for coyotes in Northeast Ohio, which means the animals will be on the move and more dangerous to small pets.
"It's hard for them to escape. Coyotes are fast animals. They can snatch up a little dog pretty easily," Ohio Division of Wildlife Research Technician Laurie Graber said.
From January through mid-March, coyotes tend to be more aggressive, defensive and territorial.
"If you see a coyote, do what you can to get the point across it's not welcome in your yard. Clap your hands, make noise, try to chase it off. Make it feel uncomfortable," Graber said.
Graber said pet owners need to keep a close eye on their small dogs, especially at night. Walk dogs on a leash, turn on a porch light and make plenty of noise when you're outside.
"If you just let your dog out to run on its own, if a coyote is around, there is a chance that a bad situation can happen," Graber said.
She said bird feeders may draw coyotes to people's yards.
"Bird feeders alone can attract coyotes for the fact that seed falls on the ground, so you get rabbits and other animals that come in and feed on that seed on the ground, which, therefore, coyotes will come in and hunt those animals," Graber said.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife has taken fewer coyote reports this breeding season compared to last year. Graber attributes the dip to the colder winter, but, she said, as temperatures rise, the DNR expects coyote sighting to spike as well.
If a coyote is causing a problem in your neighborhood, you may be able to hire a nuisance trapper, depending on city ordinances where you live.