The Burke family awoke Saturday morning to a grisly sight on their front lawn.
A deer had been mauled within a short distance of their home in North Madison on Cornfield Lane off of Farm View Drive, just past Old Toll Road.
"I just called the town and did not get a very good response to what I think is a huge problem," Arlene Burke wrote to Patch. "There is a deer on my lawn, half eaten, which is my problem to remove. Ugh!"
Burke said she called the police dispatcher and was told to call the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. She initially thought it was the work of a bear, but later learned from some people who helped her remove the carcass that it may be the work of a coyote.
"The guys who removed the deer said it has all the signs of a coyote killing, that bears are not fast enough to do what happened," she said. "There were no claw marks and too much devastation of the poor deer."
If any of our readers know how to distinguish the work of a coyote from the work of a bear or another animal, we'd love to hear from you in the comment section below.
So what do you do if you wake up to find a mauled animal on your front lawn? When Burke called the Madison police, they said to contact the DEEP. DEEP, on its website, says to call the local police or to contact them if an animal is "behaving abnormally" or is "posing an immediate public threat."
The question is ... if a coyote or other wild animal kills a deer on someones front lawn, does that constitute an immediate public threat, or is this considered a nuisance or more routine problem? At what point does it become an immediate public threat?
The Madison Police Department is lucky enough to have a wide variety of police officers who are experienced in different areas. One of those is Officer Tom Bull, who is an expert when it comes to coyotes. Officer Bull, formerly a sergeant with the Department of Environmental Protection has also served as its Hammonasset State Park Conservation Officer. We'd love to hear from Officer Bull, whenever he comes back on duty, about his opinion on when a coyote goes from being a nuisance to a problem.
We asked Arlene to let us know if there is any follow up by the Madison police or the DEEP. It seems, at the very least, like it might be a good idea for the DEEP or the local police, if they are not too busy this particular Saturday morning, to check it out and document it. Then, if it continues to be a problem, we have the information going forward.
Here is the information from the DEEP website:
To report coyote problems and for control information:
Local Animal Control Division
DEP Wildlife Division: (860) 424-3011
To report animals that are behaving abnormally or are posing an immediate public threat:
Local Police Department
DEP Emergency Dispatch Office (24 hrs.): (860) 424-3333
Here is some information on how to deal with coyotes :
"The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is reminding residents of steps to take to reduce contact with coyotes. As coyotes have become more prevalent in the state, incidents of conflict with humans and animals have also become more common. The risk of a coyote attacking a human is low, but this risk increases if they learn to associate people with food through intentional or unintentional feeding.
Commonsense steps to avoid conflict with coyotes include:
- Do not allow pets to run free. Keep cats indoors, particularly at night, and small dogs on a leash or under close supervision at all times.
- Never feed coyotes. Do not place food out for any mammals. Clean up bird seed below feeders, pet foods, and fallen fruit. Secure garbage and compost in animal-proof containers.
- Always walk dogs on a leash. If approached by a coyote while walking your dog, keep the dog under control and calmly leave the area. Do not run or turn your back.
- Attempt to frighten away coyotes by making loud noises and acting aggressively.
- Be aware of any coyote behaving abnormally or exhibiting unusually bold behavior (e.g., approaching people for food, attacking leashed pets that are with their owners, stalking children, chasing joggers or bikers) and report these incidents to authorities immediately.
- Be aware of and report any coyotes exhibiting behavior indicative of rabies, such as staggering, seizures, and extreme lethargy. Daytime activity is not uncommon and does not necessarily indicate rabies.
- Teach children to recognize coyotes and to go inside the house (do not run) or climb up on a swing or deck and yell if they are approached.
- Contact the DEEP Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011 for more information on coyotes or other wildlife problems.
Background on Coyotes
Coyotes were not originally found in Connecticut, but have extended their range eastward during the last 100 years from the western plains and midwestern United States, through Canada and into the northeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Coyotes were first reported in Connecticut in the mid-1950s. For the next 10 years, most coyote reports were from northwestern Connecticut.
Coyotes eventually expanded their range throughout the entire state and are now a part of Connecticut’s ecosystem. The coyote is one wildlife species that has adapted to human-disturbed environments and can thrive in close proximity to populated areas.
A typical coyote resembles a small, lanky German shepherd, but several characteristics distinguish it from a dog. Coyotes tend to be more slender and have wide, pointed ears; a long, tapered muzzle; yellow eyes; slender legs; small feet; and a straight, bushy tail which is carried low to the ground. The pelage (fur) is usually a grizzled-gray color with a cream-colored or white underside, but coloration is variable with individuals having blonde, reddish, and charcoal coat colors."
For more information on coyotes and other Connecticut wildlife, visit the DEEP website Wildlife Division page at www.ct.gov/deep/wildlife.