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  • Writer's pictureCaméa Allen

Coyotes in Yorktown, Virginia

There was recently a coyote sighting in our neighborhood. Sadly, a local dog was fatally attacked in the Tabb area of Yorktown last week. Our heartfelt condolences go out to our neighbors that lost their beloved dog in such a traumatic and unexpected way. As both pet care professionals and lovers of wildlife, we'd like to take this opportunity to educate our friends and followers about the possibility of coyotes in Yorktown, Virginia.

We've also included ways to keep you and your pets safe.

Coyotes Live & Dwell in and near Yorktown

Coyotes are not new to our area. They are all over York County. I live in Tabb, alongside the woods, which is now Smith Estates. I have personally seen and heard coyotes and foxes since we moved here in 2009. One of our dogs has even howled along with them before. That said, I am confident we are going to see an uptick in coyote sightings due to the construction happening on the Smith property and other areas in York County and Poquoson. It's only natural when their habitat and hunting grounds are slowly diminishing.

When Coyotes Come Out To Play

Coyotes are mostly nocturnal. However, they can also be active during the day, especially during warmer weather months when they are searching for food to feed their newborn pups. Although it's unusual, seeing a coyote during the day does not indicate it has rabies and is generally not cause for concern.

Because spring and summer tend to be a time when coyotes are more active - mating, breeding, etc. - it's a good idea to take extra precautions. Reducing distractions, taking precautions, and carrying deterrents are a great place to start.

This link offers in-depth information and tips in a printable format.

Following are a few tips from our team of professionals at Hearts at Home Pet Sitting.

Keeping Pets Safe From Coyote Attacks

Supervise Pets at All Times

Do not allow pets outside unsupervised, especially if they are let out into an unsecured area. Even an invisible fence provides a false sense of security because it does not keep wildlife and other pets from wandering onto the property. No matter what you use to secure your property, always go outside with your dogs, no matter their size.

When walking at night and early morning hours, keep your dog on a standard 6-foot leash and bring a flashlight. Avoid retractable leashes because these kinds of leashes give pets too much lead to successfully intervene if a pet is attacked.

Finally, avoid distractions like talking on your phone or in-person conversations. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the sights and sounds of coyotes, foxes, etc. Prevention is truly half the battle in most of these cases.

Deter Coyotes from Your Home & Yard

Having a solid fence can be a deterrent, however, if a coyote is looking for food, it can easily jump a 4ft fence, scale taller ones, or dig underneath. Instead, make sure you keep all food items secured in your trash bins. Have broken bins repaired to prevent coyotes from accessing discards. And, avoid leaving pet food and water bowls out in your yard. This can be especially difficult when feeding feral or outside cats but it's critical for their safety too.

Coyote Rollers make it especially difficult for coyotes to scale tall fences and enter yards. They are specifically designed for this purpose and preserve the look of your home while keeping it safe.

Deter Coyotes from Your Person & Pet

While most coyotes and other predators are unlikely to attack when a human is nearby, it's not unheard of, especially when the encounter is a surprise for all involved.

If you encounter a coyote, swing your hands over your head and yell. The idea is to make yourself look large and intimidating. You can also throw rocks and other inedible objects toward the coyote to startle them off. The goal is not to hurt the animal, just to get them to run off.

And, consider carrying SprayShield, a whistle, or an air horn when walking your pets in the evening or early morning hours. These deterrents are handy at creating space between you and the coyote while you find your way to safety. The great thing about SprayShield, a popular tool with professional dog walkers and pet sitters, is that it's made of citronella, which does not harm the animal that is sprayed. It is not pepper spray or a similar irritant. It simply can deter potentially dangerous animals (and humans) from continuing to approach.

Coyotes in York County & Beyond

Learn more about the threat of coyotes in our area and others at the following links:

As professional pet sitters and dog walkers dedicated to the care of Yorktown pets, we encourage you to share sightings on local resident groups, work together with your neighbors to prevent attracting coyotes to your street, and discuss a plan of action with your loved ones in case you come face-to-face with a coyote or other predator while out with your pet(s.)

If you have any questions on the above or our pet care services, please contact us at

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