Cook County pet owners warned of spring coyote dangers

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Pet owners in Cook County are urged to keep their companions safe as coyotes in the area look to feed their newborn pups in the next few weeks.

"Every single year, right around this time of year, we wind up seeing a few incidences where family pets wind up being victims of coyotes," said Natalia Derevyanny, a spokeswoman with Cook County Animal and Rabies Control.

Coyotes usually give birth in April and they need extra calories and display more territorial behavior during this period, the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control said. A pet may be a threat, or a meal, to a coyote.

Animal control advised residents to supervise their pets while they are out in a yard as coyotes can easily climb fences and take small animals. Owners should also avoid feeding their pets outside.

"It might seem ridiculous, but even if you have a high fence, a coyote can scale that fence in seconds and they're looking for pets that are unattended so they can quickly grab them," Derevyanny said.

Anyone that comes across a coyote should jump around and make loud noises to scare it away, animal control said. More than 1,500 coyotes reside throughout Cook County.

At the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in DuPage County, spring brings a much tamer trend: orphaned baby animals. Volunteers work three shifts, 7 days a week, rehabilitating and feeding injured and abandoned wildlife.

"Last year we took in about 9,600 animals, the previous year was over 10,000," said wildlife keeper Alicia Biewer.

For DuPage County residents who find a sick or injured animal, contact the Willowbrook Wildlife Center at  (630) 942-6200.

If you find a sick or injured animal outside of DuPage County, click here to find the wildlife center nearest you: