Last Thursday during the winter storm here in Lubbock, a coyote was purportedly spotted wandering through a neighborhood. A video of the animal was posted to Nextdoor.com with the caption, "Coyote! Since it's already cold hopefully all of the pets are already inside."

Although most of the coyote population in Lubbock has been killed off by farmers keeping their livestock safe, you’ll still find them around Lubbock on occasion. However, it isn't very common to find them in neighborhoods or places towards central Lubbock because they're usually scared off. You'll still catch them around town every now and then, and it's important to know what to do if you encounter one.

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The biggest issue of having coyotes around town is that they will attack pets that are in people’s backyards. Outdoor cats and small dogs are especially at high risk of becoming a coyote’s next meal. I grew up in Arizona where it was extremely common to hear about people's pets getting snatched up from their yard by coyotes that would hop fences and go after smaller animals. It's less common, but sometimes coyotes will attack people, too.

If you ever encounter a coyote and it approaches you, do not run. Running will only cause them to become more aggressive and chase you. It's best to try and scare them off by yelling, waving your arms, or even throwing things at them. That will usually frighten them enough to continue on their way and leave you alone. If you encounter a coyote while taking your dog for a walk, be sure to pick up your dog (if it's small enough) or keep your pup close to you if they're too big to pick up as you try and scare the coyote off with the previously mentioned tactics.

It isn't something to be too worried about, but it is important to keep in mind. The most important thing is to just make sure you check on your pets if they are outside and make sure they aren’t out there by themselves for too long.

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