BAINBRIDGE TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Park officials have posted signs at Frohring Meadows in Bainbridge Township as coyotes have returned to the area.
"We know from monitoring wildlife cameras that these animals are in the area," said Paul Pira, Geauga Park District's park biologist. "They may be using this park once again for denning, so we're trying to be proactive by cautioning people to respect wildlife and obey the leash laws."
Leash laws are enforced on all Geauga Park District properties, and dogs are required to be on leash at all times.
Park officials said even the most highly trained and best-behaved pets can be unpredictable at times, making leashing the best option for all.
An unleashed pet can result in a fine.
Pira notices the impact unleashed dogs have had on wildlife research. "There are numerous other animals in our wetland study areas that we have also documented as being highly disturbed by dogs off leash at Frohring Meadows park," he explained. "They have disturbed our trapping research, killed waterfowl and caused us to cease work on some research projects."
Where coyotes are denning, pets off a leash may also provoke them by wandering off trail and finding their dens, Pira said.
"There shouldn't be any problem as long as they're on leash," Pira added. "Hopefully, we won't have to close the trails."
Frohring Meadows' Big Bluestem Trail was closed for more than two months in 2012 after a woman and her dog had an encounter with the coyote pair. The same trail is now marked with signs at the entrance to the woods.
Rangers will also be monitoring the area more closely to ensure compliance and safety, Chief Ranger Scott Wilson said.
Eastern coyotes, known to inhabit the area of Frohring Meadows, are normally passive. The presence of dogs may trigger coyotes to display forms of aggression consisting of yips, howls and growls. Coyotes may follow behind dog-walkers for a short distance.
If you encounter a coyote:
- Calmly control your pet and leave the area the way you entered
- If you are walking a dog, shorten the leash; keep the dog close and as quiet as possible
- Pick up and carry small dogs
- If a coyote does approach, walk backwards slowly and try to discourage it by shouting in a deep voice, waving your arms, throwing objects and looking the coyote directly in the eyes. If you are wearing a coat or vest, spread it open like a cape so that you appear larger.
- Carrying a whistle with you can help frighten a coyote and alert others
Report coyote interaction to the Park District’s ranger and Natural Resource management departments by calling (440) 286-9516.
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