Coyotes in Westchester
From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Coyotes in Westchester

Letter as published on Westchester Rising
July 21, 2017

At a recent meeting of Yonkers residents, the topic was sighting of coyotes – that’s right, “sightings,” not one single incident or disturbance had occurred – by these animals who have been living peacefully in the area for over 10 years.

A local official said we “don’t want customers at Empire Casino seeing the animals.” Yes, that gambling and horseracing bastion of dignity and refi ned living must be spared; there, confi ned animals can be whipped to run faster – but no free animals should ever even be seen. One resident was “terrifi ed” to merely see one looking outside his gate during his barbecue, but when provided with correct, simple information on successful techniques to shoo them – such as yelling or turning on the sprinklers – several residents expressed their indignation.

“Why should we have to ‘do’ anything?” was repeatedly asked. But the fact is, the residents already do things for their general comfort and security. They insulate their homes, lock their doors, mulch their lawns, clean the homes, repair the boilers, etc. It’s not so much to ask them to add “doing something” to deter animals who have lived in this area for years and not bothered a soul.

Every time you drive your car, there’s no guarantee of safety; local news sources report a serious or fatal auto accident each week but we keep driving. We adapt. Coyotes kill rats and mice, and are a natural part of a healthy ecosystem. We are so used to, so habituated to truly serious dangers we create ourselves and face each and every day; seeing wildlife is out of the norm – and, sadly, we panic; feel we have the right to order their slaughter because they can’t defend themselves.

But it ain’t Godzilla, folks, its animals who love their families just like we do, who are more afraid of us than we are of them. You are far more likely to be bitten by a dog, and overwhelmingly more likely to be injured or killed in your car. There are billion s more of us than the animals; New York City, acknowledging wildlife’s presence, has created “WildNYC,” an education and awareness campaign to teach New Yorkers about living compassionately among “urban fauna,” our natural neighbors.

We would be wise to adapt something similar: Westchester used to be all forest – as the human population explodes everywhere, common decency, right and wrong, cannot be thrown out the window just because animals can’t say “No!”

Kiley Blackman
Founder, Animal Defenders of Westchester

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