Coyote reports from Connecticut, North Carolina, North Dakota, and West Virginia; Rabies reports from Georgia, New Jersey, and North Carolina; and a Travel Warning for Saudi Arabia.

Coyote. Courtesy National Park Service.

Connecticut 02/09/11 by Eric W. Sydor – A coyote was spotted roaming Westport’s Roseville Road area early today.

Georgia 02/09/11 Flowery Branch – Another rabies alert has been posted in Hall County… this one in South Hall.   Authorities said there was contact between a raccoon and a dog on Feb. 6 in the Meadowfield Trace area. They said the animal was shipped to the Georgia Public Health Lab where it tested positive for rabies.   This is the third case of rabies reported in Hall County this year.

New Jersey 02/09/11 by Lauren T. Taniguchi – Greenwich Twp. – The Cumberland County Health Department was notified of its first positive rabies case of the year on Jan. 25.  The Health Department reported that a wild raccoon displaying no fear attempted to attack a Greenwich-area resident and his dog as they returned home from a walk. Neither the resident nor his dog was bitten by the raccoon, which was captured and euthanized to prevent further exposure.  The rabid raccoon had been seen fighting with another raccoon and smelled of skunk, leading officials to suspect the potential of additional infected animals in the area. The Cumberland County Health Department encourages residents to be aware of unusual animals outdoors, especially while with pets.  For more information about the rabies virus or rabies clinics, contact the Cumberland County Health Department at (856) 327-7602, extension 1139.

North Carolina 02/09/11 Haywood County Animal Services officers are canvassing the Beaverdam community in search of stray animals, after hikers discovered a rabid raccoon in the area on Jan. 30.  The raccoon tested positive for rabies, after being killed following a fight with the hikers’ dogs.  For further information contact Animal Services at 828.456.5338 or the Health Department at 828.452.6675.

North Carolina 02/09/11 by Meghan Packer – A Greensboro family is concerned after they spotted what they’re certain is a coyote in their neighborhood.  Christy McNeal said she was driving with her husband and two young sons in the Rolling Roads neighborhood Saturday when they spotted the animal.  “My husband hit the brakes so we didn’t hit it because at first, that fast, we just thought it was a dog,” she said. “Once it came back down, we got a better look at it and realized it wasn’t just a dog.”  McNeal called 911, Animal Control, and NC Wildlife.  “We were terrified because Animal Control said, ‘well they are looking for small animals’ and well I don’t know the coyote would know the difference between my children and a small animal.”  She has no doubt about what they saw.  “Once especially we saw the pictures of them online it was 100% obvious what we had seen was a coyote,” she said.  Scott Greene, Manager of Guilford County Animal Control, said they are hearing from more and more people who are spotting wildlife at all times of the day and night, and have received several calls about coyotes seen during the day.  “I’m not alarmed. I don’t think it’s unusual,” he said.   “They’re very nervous by nature. This is their breeding time so it’s probably not going to be uncommon for us to see more and more during these next couple of months,” said Greene.   Still, McNeal is concerned about the safety of her two young sons.  “It’s terrifying to think something like that could just be loose running around in such a heavily populated area,” she said.   “I want to feel safe in my own yard and my own neighborhood, so feeling like I’m constantly, ‘oh is it back there? Could it be over there?’ It’s disconcerting.”

North Dakota 02/08/11 North Dakota hunters won`t be getting a $100 bounty for shooting a coyote.  Coyotes are causing more expensive problems in western North Dakota because cattle and lamb prices are good. Some North Dakota senators say a possible solution is to pay hunters $100 for each coyote they shoot, up to a maximum of 2,000 coyotes statewide.  Opponents of the measure say it would take $200,000 away from a program that uses professional hunters to control coyote numbers.  Bowman Sen. Bill Bowman says that approach isn`t working, because coyotes are getting more numerous.  The bounty bill failed in the North Dakota Senate on Tuesday, 30-16. The bill is SB2224.

West Virginia 02/08/11 by Martin Staunton – MacArthur – We are in the midst of the most desolate days of winter when it comes to some of the wildlife in southern West Virginia. The diminished food source for the coyote population pushes these animals closer to humans and these predators are pouncing on some people’s pets. Coyotes are making more than a come-back, their population growth puts them on a collision course with people.  Experts say when their regular meals of small mammals become few and far between they will feed on family pets. That’s the experience one Fayette County resident shared. Julie Jones says one of her family cats was killed by coyotes in Edmond.  “It was very sad for me. Very, very sad for my children and really incredibly scary because I have two small girls. We have a big back yard and now I wonder about letting them go into the back yard,” said Jones.  Wildlife biologists with the Division of Natural Resources say they understand the fear, but they say the chances of a coyote attacking a person are slim. Colin Carpenter says coyotes are skittish around people.  “We have luckily, not had any problems here in West Virginia with coyote attacks on humans. It has occurred out west, but it’s the type of thing where it has not happened here, so we’ve been lucky in that regard,” Carpenter said.  Carpenter adds that coyotes are opportunistic hunters that will catch whatever they can. He says it’s a good idea to protect small pets and livestock whether you live in town or out in the country.  “If you have pets that are outside, it may be a good idea to bring, especially smaller pets in at night or if you have outside cats, be aware coyotes will eat those,” said Carpenter.  Jones says the loss of her pet makes her worried about her children’s safety, in her own back yard.  “We don’t let the kids go anywhere without the dog. We have a big wood-line behind our house, they go with whistles, that seemed to be the smartest thing I could think of, to alert us if something were to happen and they could blow this whistles and we would know,” Jones said.  Carpenter says coyotes are afraid of people for the most part, but he wants to remind everyone that just because you may not see them doesn’t mean they are not in your area.  “I wouldn’t say they’re a problem, they’ve expanded, they are now in all counties of West Virginia,” said Carpenter. He adds that anyone with a problem with coyotes can report it to the DNR. Carpenter says if you encounter a coyote, it’s best to make noise and that should shoo the animal away.

Travel Warnings:

Saudi Arabia 02/09/11 Via Arab Six cases of dengue fever and four cases of malaria have been confirmed since the Jan. 26 floods in Jeddah, according to the Ministry of Health.  Dr. Sami Badawood, director of the Health Affairs Department in Jeddah, said that since the beginning of the year there have been 61 reported cases of dengue fever, with 26 of them still not being confirmed.  “Although it is the municipality’s duty to control mosquitoes that carry dengue fever, we are also trying to raise awareness among the public to avoid contact with stagnant water and not to let children play in the dirty water pools,” Badawood told Arab News.  He stated that people should protect themselves by using mosquito repellants, as well as ensuring that windows are adequately covered.


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