WESTON, Conn. – Two Weston parks remain closed a week after aggressive coyotes were spotted, with the parks director sparring with the Weston animal control officer and the state caught in the middle.
David Brant, executive director of Aspetuck Land Trust, which owns the Taylor Woods and Tall Pines preserves that were closed, argues the coyotes' behavior was natural and isn't cause for alarm.
Mark Harper, the Weston Animal Control Officer, said a coyote followed a woman home baring its teeth and growling. “It was abnormal behavior and there’s no reason for them to act this way,” he said.
Brant said he controls the parks and can open them at his discretion but is willing to keep them closed “to protect the coyotes and the people.”
Brant notified the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection about the coyote issue and a representative said the coyote behavior was normal.
“When people walk by with their dogs, coyotes come out of their den and observe. They may be bearing their teeth but they’re acting naturally,” said Paul Rego, a state wildlife biologist.
“My advice this time of year is they’ll abandon their den any day now,” he said.
If they don’t abandon their den, efforts to get them to move could be attempted by spraying chemicals on the den or making loud noises, officials said.
“I've gone in and taken ammonia and shoved it into the den and they relocate,” Harper said. “I don’t want to harm the coyotes but I need to keep a balance between citizens, domestic pets and coyotes.”
The coyotes also could be killed, which requires a state permit to be issued. “I don’t think we’d issue it because we’d need a more thorough determination of what happened,” Rego said.
None of the parties wants to kill the coyotes. They share an interest in preserving public safety and the coyotes' natural habitat.
In the meantime, the parks remain closed, with no rush to reopen them.
“We haven’t formulated a plan,” Harper said. “I’ll go back next week and see if they’re still there. Everyone would feel bad if they walk through the park and were under attack. I’m not going to let that happen. I hope they’ll disperse but if they keep up with the unusual behavior, they’ll have to be removed.”