Although much of Mansfield has transformed into an urban area, one remnant of its previously rural past remains: wildlife.
Lori Rodriguez, supervisor for Mansfield Animal Care & Control, said that coyotes are becoming more frequent visitors in populated areas because they have found a food source. The drought also has brought the animals out into the open seeking water, she said.
Residents recently have reported frequent coyote sightings to animal control. Because coyotes can still roam the area, city officials are urging residents to become educated about how to keep themselves and their domesticated pets like dogs and cats safe.
According to wildlife advice on the department’s web site, most cities don’t seek to remove wild animals like coyotes but instead make residents aware of the animal’s behavioral patterns and lifestyles in order to coexist with them. Residents who live close to parks, fields, golf courses or near uninhabited areas also should be aware of wildlife.
Rodriguez said that residents should be careful to secure garbage that’s placed outdoors and to not store pet food outside. “Coyote’s food sources are limited in populated areas so pet owners should be care because the coyotes consider domesticated pets food.”
Rodriguez said that all outdoor pets are required to be on a leash, including cats. When walking pets at night, use a shorter leash and bring a walking stick or pepper spray to defend against a possible wildlife encounter with your pet, she said.
“A lot of people think short-term,” Rodriguez said. “They just think, ‘Oh, I’m going to take the dog on a 10-minute walk.’ But a lot can happen during those ten minutes.”
Rodriguez said that humans typically are not in danger when approached by a coyote. But if encountering one, she advised residents to be animated and vocal to encourage the animal to move on its way.
“People need to take measures to make sure that they’re not doing things to put themselves in the path of the coyotes,” she said. “We have to respect them just like we want them to respect us.”
For more information, call Mansfield Animal Care & Control at 817-276-4799 or visit the city web site at www.mansfieldtexas.gov.