Protecting pets from wild animals
Many pets share the outdoors with wildlife. Unless your pets can defend themselves, an encounter with wild animals could end tragically. Learn to keep your pets safe.
Radio interview source: Dan Morrison, Executive Director, Southeast Area Animal Control Authority, Los Angeles, CA
Cats and dogs can find themselves in fights with raccoons and other wild animals, and it doesn't always end up in their favor.
Dan Morrison is the executive director of the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority in Los Angeles. He says as communities grow and expand into previously undeveloped areas, wild animals lose their natural habitat, and can hurt or even kill cats and dogs that don't have the survival skills to defend themselves.
To keep wildlife away from your pets, Morrison recommends a few simple solutions.
"When we talk about something as simple as not leaving food outside, they may come on once in awhile to see, but once they've established that there's no food there, they're going to pass you right by," he says. "Don't let your pets run loose in your yard if you live in an area where there's wildlife, especially coyotes, because that's a natural predator and they're going to challenge your pet."
Also make your property unattractive to wildlife. Clean up brush piles and other debris to discourage nesting and hiding places. Seal cracks and holes in your house and barn.
There's no guarantee that your pets won't get into a tussle. Make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date in case of an attack.
Morrison also notes that sound animal welfare practices can benefit wildlife.
"I think we can do more taking care of doing what we should as responsible pet owners to protect them and the wildlife, and we solve the problem," says Morrison. "So to look at it just one way, it diminishes the return on your effort. Maybe people don't traditionally think of that, but I think much more wildlife is unfortunately injured or killed by domestic animals than vice versa."
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