2018-03-29 / News

Cat killed by coyote off East Shore

BY TIM RIEL

Evidenced by a domesticated cat found dead in the front lawn of a Wright Lane home about three weeks ago, warmer weather is bringing coyotes out of their dens, according to Ed Mello, police chief.

That is the same area where a 40-pound dog was attacked and killed in August by a pack of coyotes, which fueled the ongoing comprehensive program to stymie the canines. During that incident, the pack stood strong even as the victim dog’s owner, Stephen Lepre, waved a baseball bat and blew an air horn.

Mello updated the town councilors at their March 19 meeting. Along with the ravaged cat, an unleashed dog was bitten by an unknown animal while traversing the Parker property near Holmstead Court. That farm and Wright Lane are both located off East Shore Road about a mile apart off from each other. Mello said his police force is working to mitigate the problem in that area.

“We’ll continue those efforts up there,” he said.

Mello also reported a woman at 371 Beavertail Road was cited for leaving food attractants outside. She was charged March 18.

The town council in October 2016 passed an ordinance that prohibits feeding wild animals. According to Mello, this property has been identified as hotspot for hungry wildlife, and already was warned last summer by police. He said copious amounts of birdseed scattered on the ground is attracting rats, which then attract coyotes. The woman, who was given three weeks to clean the seed, has hired a contractor to remediate the problem.

“It’s as good as it’s going to get,” he said.

With spring’s arrival, Mello’s department is gearing up its awareness program, warning residents about the coyote problem through newspaper ads and publicly posted notices. The town also has purchased 15 signs it is installing at popular sites for fishermen and dog walkers, such as Conanicut Battery and Potter’s Cove.

Councilman Blake Dickinson, a Mount Hope Avenue resident, said he has used night vision to witness two coyotes in the Taylor Point area. He believes they travel south on Bay View Drive.

“They frequent down by the yacht club,” he said. “There’s a lot to eat down there.”

Mello continues to remind residents about the two most important aspects of coyote control: don’t leave food outdoors and keep an eye on pets.

“Small dogs are very appealing to coyotes,” he said.

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