The death of an Allegheny County family's pet husky, possibly by a wild coyote earlier this week, shouldn't come as a surprise, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
"Coyotes have been spotted in every municipality of Pennsylvania from Erie to Philadelphia," said Jerry Feaser, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. "There was even one seen within the city of Pittsburgh recently."
Feaser said the coyotes, like other wild animals, use the corridors created by rivers and streams to travel into populated areas.
"They're scavengers," said Feaser. "They feed on food left out in the trash or on the abundant small prey population such as squirrels, rabbits, and groundhogs."
Feaser said while coyotes may appear frightening, they are more afraid of us than we are of them.
"Just yell at it, and it will likely run away," he said. "But they will tangle with a dog, especially if it's not on a leash."
"People are telling us that they heard heard that the dog was killed as some sort of Halloween prank," said Lt. Matt Holland of the West View Police Department. "There is absolutely no evidence of that. There is no evidence of foul play. In fact the husky's owners contacted us to say they're certain their dog was attacked by another animal."
Holland said either a raccoon or perhaps a coyote could be the culprit.
"We have no way of knowing for sure, but our officers have seen coyotes in the borough at night," said Holland. "They are becoming more prevalent in Allegheny County. Raccoons are also known to attack other animals."
Holland says owners should be aware of their pet's surroundings when they are outside, either in a fenced-in area or on a leash.
"There's no reason to panic, but you should check on your pet regularly, especially if it spends a lot of time outside," Holland said.
Have you seen coyotes in the Pine-Richland area? Where?
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