Animal Protection Police Officers and the Fairfax County Wildlife Management Specialist are monitoring coyote activity after a small dog was attacked and killed in the forested area of the Parklawn community. Dogs are vulnerable to coyote confrontations, especially when unattended. Conflicts between dogs and coyotes can happen year-round but are more likely during coyote mating season (January-March) and when coyotes are caring for their young (March-August). Unprovoked conflicts between humans and coyotes are extremely rare. Coyotes are an established part of the local wildlife community in Fairfax County and the mere presence of coyotes should not alarm you.
To help prevent conflicts and the likelihood of a confrontation with a coyote:
- Never feed a coyote
- Securely cover your trash bins and compost piles
- Do not feed pets outside or store pet food outside
- Do not leave your pet unattended, even in a fenced yard
- Keep cats indoors
- Pick up ripe, fallen fruit and do not let it accumulate on the ground
- Keep dogs on short leashes (less than 6 feet) while walking outside
- Install motion sensor lights or a motion activated sprinkler around your home
The Fairfax County Police Department’s Animal Services Division is working to monitor coyote activity in the area using area searches and game cameras. Personnel are coordinating these efforts with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to determine if additional actions need to be taken. Reports of aggressive, sick or injured animals should be made to the Fairfax County Animal Protection Police through the Police non-emergency number at 703-691-2131.