BERWICK, La. -- A reported coyote sighting in Berwick has officials searching for the animal, but warning residents not to take matters into their own hands if they encounter one.
An 11-year-old boy reportedly was knocked from his bicycle on the walking trail in the vicinity of Renwick Subdivision by a large dog or coyote Sunday around 4:30 p.m., said Berwick Police Chief James Richard. While the boy, his parents and the police could neither confirm nor deny exactly what the animal was, the description of a “big dog with pointy ears and a pointy nose” left them wondering if it was a coyote.
Richard said the town isn’t taking chances.
Traps have been set, and the police obtained a permit from the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to take a coyote at night should one be spotted. The chief said his officers are searching each evening for the animals as they can become a nuisance.
He warned that residents should not take matters into their own hands.
“It is still illegal to fire a weapon within the city limits of Berwick, and you can’t take an animal at night without a permit,” Richard said.
The Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ website says: “coyotes are usually afraid of humans, but if you encounter one you should attempt to leave the area calmly.” Do not run, but do make loud noises to scare the animal.
If a coyote is in your yard, do not approach it, the SPCA cautions.
The SPCA advises scaring it off by making loud noises such as banging pots and pans together. Also you can spray it with a hose or toss tennis balls at it. Never attempt to touch, tame or feed a wild animal.
The SPCA also recommends carrying an air horn or walking stick as a deterrent when walking pets.
Coyotes are extremely shy animals that tend to avoid contact with humans, according to the SPCA. They primarily travel between dusk and dawn, but during the spring and summer, when food needs are higher, they will move around during the daytime.
Resident coyotes do not tolerate other coyotes in their territory, so it is impossible for an area to become “infested” with coyotes. Resident coyotes defend their territories fiercely and will fight with an intruding coyote to death, if necessary.
If an animal is posing a threat, state and local officials have the authority to kill the animal. The LDWF does not recommend relocation of wildlife because of the threat of spreading disease.