SAN DIEGO – In the wake of several recent coyote attacks on pets, some San Diegans are offering advice on keeping your furry family member safe.
San Diego Animal Advocates, an animal rights organization, offers a program called “Living With Urban Wildlife.” The programs focuses on dealing with coyote encounters.
Jane Cartmill, the group’s president, said there are ways to deter the animals from your backyard.
“They’re an important part of the ecosystem, but we don’t them in our backyard,” said Cartmill. “We need to teach them not to come to our backyard.”
First and foremost, never feed coyotes. It seems simple, but Cartmill said it’s more common than you’d think. She also recommends never leaving pet food outside, or any other food items that could attract the animals.
“They will go after small pets if they have the chance,” said Cartmill. “Although they’d much prefer rodents and rabbits and fruit. If you have fallen fruit from a tree pick it up. If you put out your garbage put it out the morning of pickup, not the night before.”
Cartmill said if a coyote does come close, the most humane thing to do is to scare it off with loud noise, a hose, or the like. She said calling authorities can lead to the animals being killed.
Along with taking precautions at your home, San Diegan Johnny Dumas hopes to provide an extra layer of protection for pets. A dog owner himself, Dumas and his family were worried about the possibility of a coyote attack.
“My mom came to me and she asked me, ‘with all of the coyote activity in the area what are you gonna do if a coyote comes up and takes your dog away?’” Dumas said. “And just jokingly I said, ‘I’ll make a vest that’s like a porcupine with spikes’ and she laughed.”
The joke became reality when Dumas developed a product called Spike Bite. The safety suit for dogs wraps around their body and protects the most vulnerable areas.
“Within this orange pad we have embedded metal spikes,” said Dumas.
Dumas said the padded areas protect the dog’s back, stomach and neck under intense pressure, like a bite. He claims the padding is strong enough to protect a human if they need to grab their dog.
“The idea isn’t to hurt the coyote,” said Dumas. “It’s just to discourage bites. So I didn’t go with a needle, because a needle would hurt you no matter what type of pressure you apply. I went for something a little bit duller and that gives you the opportunity to stop applying pressure before your skin is broken.”
What impact the suit will have remains to be seen. Dumas only developed Spike Bite earlier this year.
The product is currently patent pending and Dumas is using a manufacturer in Santee. The small size is $89.99 and is available on his website. He said the product can be designed to fit for each dog, depending on body style. Larger sizes are $20 extra.
Spike Bite is currently available for sale at several retailers in Vista, Encinitas and Ramona. For details contact Dumas at firstname.lastname@example.org.