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December 11, 2012

The HSUS Conducts Workshop to Help Fairfax County Live with Coyotes and Other Wildlife

Combination of education and innovative techniques allow people, pets and wildlife to peacefully coexist

The Humane Society of the United States, in collaboration with Fairfax County Animal Control Services, held a workshop Dec. 11 to explain successful techniques for humanely resolving conflicts with coyotes and other wildlife.

The workshop was held in response to concerns from residents about coyotes and other wildlife in Fairfax County, Va. Animal control and police officers were given the opportunity to learn about nonlethal techniques that can be used to prevent conflicts between residents, their pets, coyotes and other wildlife.

“The Humane Society of the United States values Fairfax County’s focus on empowering and educating residents to solve conflicts with coyotes and other wildlife,” said Stephanie Boyles Griffin, senior director of wildlife response, innovations and services for The HSUS. “Public education and humane conflict resolution continue to prove to be much more effective and longer-lasting than the proven failures of lethal measures.”

The first part of the workshop featured tips for protecting pets from coyotes, reducing coyote attractants, such as pet food and unsecured garbage, and methods for hazing bold coyotes. Coyote hazing helps restore the fear of humans back into habituated coyotes and involves the systematic use of deterrents including noisemakers, projectiles and water hoses.

The workshop also included techniques to help animal control and police officers handle wildlife problem calls over the phone. Solutions were given for common problems, such as what to do about a raccoon in the chimney, a skunk under the deck or a woodchuck in the garden. Helping callers discern real problems from unfounded fears was another aspect of the workshop.

People panic when they encounter unfamiliar wild animals. Sometimes they just need to learn, for example, that it’s extremely rare for people to get sprayed by a skunk – and when dogs do, there is a great de-odorizing solution they can make with ingredients found in their cupboards. One goal for The HSUS is to dispel myths about backyard wildlife so residents can fully enjoy having wild animals near their homes.

Additionally, John Griffin, director of The HSUS’ Humane Wildlife Services, trained officers on how to humanely solve human-wildlife conflicts in the field.

For more information on humane wildlife management, please visit, humanesociety.org/wildneighbors.

Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 301-721-6463; ksanderson@humanesociety.org

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