The New Lenox Police Department shared a lengthy post on its Facebook page about a number of incidents in which coyotes had been spotted in the village.
Citing the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and another research center, the post said there have been 16 coyote bites in Illinois in the past 30 years and most of them happened when people tried to feed them by hand.
Police also advised a number of safety tips.
• If approached by a coyote, never run away or turn your back. Back away slowly toward your house, car or any type of shelter that offers protection. If a coyote walks toward you as you’re backing away, or if it growls and its hair stands up on its back, yell, scream and wave your hands to appear larger than you are. If necessary, throw rocks to scare it away.
• If a coyote approaches while you’re walking your dog, it more than likely wants your pet and not you. If your pet is small, pick it up immediately and follow the above tactics to scare the coyote. Air horns have been known to scare them.
• If you let your dog outside, go with it or keep a very close eye on it. Open yards provide easy access, but fenced yards do not protect domestic animals. Coyotes have been known to climb over fences or even shimmy under them. Never leave your pet outside unattended.
• Coyotes are known to travel long distances but will remain in an area because they’ve discovered food sources. Keep garbage cans sealed.
• Residents with bird feeders who see coyotes in their yard are encouraged to pull the bird feeder for a few weeks so the coyotes move on. Coyotes will often linger around yards with bird feeders waiting for the birds to visit.
• Despite coyote attacks on humans being rare, be prepared while walking outside. Always have a cell phone to call police, a loved one, a neighbor or anyone else who can quickly come to assist you in the event you’re in danger.