O’Hara officials offer safety tips in wake of recent coyote sightings in township

Reports of recent coyote sightings in O’Hara Township have prompted the police department to issue online safety tips.

O’Hara Township Manager Julie Jakubec confirmed April 18 that officials, including the O’Hara Police Department, received about six calls from area residents reporting coyote sightings. She did not disclose where the sightings occurred, but said they were at various locations.

The post that went on O’Hara Township’s Facebook page April 17 offers common sense suggestions, information and safety tips pertaining to coyotes.

“It’s just a reminder to residents. Coyotes are not new to O’Hara or many other communities,” Jakubec said.

The post advises that coyotes are more active in the spring because this is when they have their young.

The safety tips include: supervising small pets while outside or keeping them indoors; keeping garbage in tightly sealed containers; removing pet food, fallen fruit and spilled bird seed from yards and using yard lights or motion lights to frighten coyotes.

People should avoid feeding coyotes. People should avoid turning their backs to the animal and running, instead making loud noises until the coyote leaves.

There have been no reports of deceased coyotes or dead pets from coyotes.

Justin Trinidad, a township public works employee, spends plenty of time outside and is no stranger to the abundant wildlife in the area.

Last month, he spotted and photographed a lone coyote crossing Dorseyville Road near Meinarts Farm at Brookdale Drive, around 1 p.m. on March 13.

Trinidad said he and his coworkers followed the recommended safety tips and honked the horn, whistled and made a loud noise.

“This young coyote stopped and looked back and continued on. He did not seem threatened. We were a good distance away, but he kinda couldn’t care less we were there,” Trinidad said.

Eastern coyotes typically live in forested areas and near farmland and have been reported in every county, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. They can weigh anywhere from 35 to 55 lbs.

Primarily nocturnal, the eastern coyote will at times “pack” to hunt or hunt alone, with morning hunts common.

Between 2005 and 2015, the most commonly reported domestic victims of coyote attacks statewide were chickens, cats and sheep, according to data from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Coyotes are the only animal in Pennsylvania that can be hunted year-round, day and night.

They pose little danger to humans, according to wildlife experts.

In 2021, Aspinwall Borough Police issued a similar public service announcement to residents after officers encountered a coyote pup in the borough.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joyce by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .