The town of Weston issued a Code Red alert this morning warning residents of the presence of aggressive coyotes at two Aspetuck Land Trust nature preserves.
Weston Animal Control Officer Mark Harper said he has closed the Taylor Woods/Thorp Preserve along Hunt Lane and Thorp Drive, and the Tall Pines Preserve located at Fanton Hill Road and Twin Walls Lane until further notice.
The Code Red alert sent to homes surrounding the nature preserves warned of the coyotes and said, “No attacks have been reported, but increasingly aggressive behavior has been observed.”
The alert further advises, “If you see a coyote, retreat but do not run. It is also advisable to keep your pets attended for the immediate future.”
The town of Weston and the Aspetuck Land Trust have requested a state biologist visit the sites to recommend an appropriate response to the coyote presence.
“We’re working with the DEEP to deal with the problem,” said Mr. Harper.
While coyote sightings are nothing new in Weston, the coyotes at the nature preserves are displaying unusual behavior by following residents and large dogs. “It’s a big enough problem and could be a compromise of safety to residents and pets,” Mr. Harper said.
In addition to reports that coyotes are following people and their dogs, Mr. Harper said he received a report that a woman was chased by a pack of coyotes, and that a coyote followed another woman nearly to the front door of her home. There was also a recent report that a coyote lured a Jack Russell terrier from a home, where a pack of coyotes then emerged and attacked it.
Mr. Harper said he is not sure how many coyotes are in this particular pack, but at least one of them, a young one, is white colored.
He said the coyotes appear to be in good health and are not suspected to be acting aggressively because of an illness, such as rabies. “My belief is these coyotes are getting very comfortable around people and so they aren’t afraid to approach them. They’re getting smarter,” he said.
Signs saying the preserves are closed have been posted at their entrances.
Residents with any questions about the coyotes may contact Mr. Harper at 203-222-2642. Emergency calls should be made to 911.
The Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection, DEEP, maintains a web page providing further advice on coyotes.