SEAACA (Southeast Area Animal Control Authority; www.seaaca.org) has released a list of tips to help pet owners keep their pets safe from wild animals. As communities grow and expand into previously undeveloped areas, wild animals (coyotes, raccoons, snakes etc.) are losing much of their natural habitat. As a result, they are becoming more acclimated to urban and suburban surroundings and can navigate access into residential areas and back yards. This encroachment of wild animals can be a problem for domesticated pets including cats and dogs. Wild animals can easily hurt, maim or even kill household pets that do not have the survival skills or temperament to defend themselves from wild animals.
To help pet owners, SEAACA has provided some guidance to keep domestic pets safe from wild animals. Some of SEAACAâ€™s tips include:
Do not leave food outside. Wild animals can be expert foragers. If you leave food outside (leftovers, pet food or anything else), it can be a magnet for wild creatures, which then can create an unsafe encounter with your pet.
Do not let your pet roam outdoors. If you live next to hills or more natural terrain, you might have many wild animals nearby. When domestic pets roam in these areas, they can be targets for attack.
Get your pet vaccinated. Wild animals can be a mode of rabies transmittal. Ensure your pet is vaccinated just in case he or she is attacked and infected.
Notify the authorities. If you notice a wild animal or animal tracks near your home, immediately contact your local animal control or wildlife service agency. They have the resources and skills to handle these situations and make your environment safer for your pet.
Protect your home. Make sure wild animals cannot get into your home through open doors or windows. Many wild animals roam in the nighttime, when you and your pets are sleeping and may not hear them enter your home. Lock and secure your doors and windows before you go to bed.
Clear your surroundings. Excessive debris, vegetation, fallen trees and hillside brush and shrubs can be enticing hiding places for snakes and other wild animals. Clear the areas around your home to avoid unwelcomed surprises for you and your pets.
Keep your pet on a leash. When hiking or walking trails with pets, make sure to keep them on leashes that are at most six feet in length. Longer leashes or no leashes at all, can allow your pet to explore hidden areas and possibly uncover snakes or other wild animals.
As our population continues to grow and we encroach upon wildlife, we need to be extra vigilant about pet safety,â€ noted SEAACA Executive Director, Dan Morrison. â€œWith a few smart precautions, we can protect our much-loved pets from dangerous encounters with wild animals,â€ he added.
For more information about pet safety or SEAACA, please visit www.seaaca.org, or call the appointment line at 562-803-3301 ext. 251.