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Belmont prepares for coyote mating season

Posted by Leslie Anderson  December 14, 2011 04:11 PM

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With coyote mating season right around the corner in January and February, Belmont’s Animal Control Officer John Maguranis is stepping up efforts to educate residents about how to coexist with coyotes, which grow more territorial around this time of year.

“I’ll be doing my winter update,” he said. “I’m very proactive about coyotes. I take any and every opportunity to talk to people.”

He will hold a public information meeting within the next few weeks, he said, where he’ll go over ways to live peacefully with coyotes and give tips for human and pet safety.

He patrols areas where residents walk their dogs, talking to people about how to keep their pets safe. And he monitors Belmont’s coyote-tracking website to monitor where in town the animals have been seen.

During their mating season, he said, coyotes can be more aggressive. They are more likely to attack large dogs, which they might see as competition. People should keep their pets leashed, he said.

Coyotes in Belmont have attacked five dogs during mating seasons in the last 10 years, said Maguranis. Three were killed.

“It’s an attack to protect their territory, their mate,” he said.

Humans, however, have little to worry about, Maguranis said: Coyotes are scared of people. He said that if people see a coyote, they should walk toward it to chase it off.

“Show them a bit of human aggression,” he said. “That works. You start walking towards a coyote and sooner or later he’s going to say, ‘Uh oh, this guy means business.’ And he backs off.”

Belmont has experienced and uptick in coyote sightings, he said, but that’s normal for the season.

“There’s no leaves in the trees. We can see them a lot easier,” Maguranis said. “Not only that, the pups that are born in the springtime, their parents are giving them a long leash and letting them explore around.”

“This time of year, everyone gets more sightings. But it doesn’t mean they’re more numerous,” he said.

Maguranis said that any citizen with a question about coyotes should call him at
617-993-2724.

“My goal is to put out accurate, factual information,” he said.

Evan Allen can be reached at evannn524@gmail.com.

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