The town of Westport has experienced several incidents involving coyotes recently.

The coyote’s ability to survive and take advantage of food sources found in and around man-made habitats has resulted in an increase in coyote related conflicts. We would like to remind those with children and small pets to be aware of the dangers associated with a coyote encounter.

Please follow these pointers to keep yourselves and your pets safe:

Never feed coyotes. It is illegal to feed coyotes in most places. Feeding endangers your family and neighbors as it lures coyotes into neighborhoods.

Keep unattended cats and dogs indoors or in completely enclosed runs, especially at night, and do not assume that a fence will keep a coyote out of your backyard.

Accompany your leashed pet outside. Make sure you turn on lights if it is dark to check your backyard for unexpected wildlife.

Keep dogs on short leashes while walking outside; the Division of Wildlife recommends a leash no longer than six feet.

Leave noisemakers on hand to scare away coyotes that may enter your yard, such as whistles and horns.

Don’t run away or turn your back on a coyote.

Do not allow a coyote to get in between you and your pet or child. Keep children close to you.

Yell, clap hands, blow a whistle and try to make yourself look larger if you have a close encounter with a coyote.

Habituated coyotes are sometimes a neighborhood issue. Work with your neighbors to make sure attractants such as fallen fruit, pet food left outside, dirty barbecue grills, and unsecured trash or compost are removed so that negative coyote interactions are minimized. Be sure no one is intentionally feeding coyotes.

Please contact the police department if there is an immediate danger associated with a coyote. To report coyote sightings, please contact the Animal Control Office at 203-341-6011.