With coyote sightings on the rise, Ohio pet owners scared of having their small dogs and cats snatched by hungry predators, have started outfitting their beloved pets in heavily-adorned, protective Kevlar vests.
Made by a California couple who watched as their own dog was killed by a coyote, CoyoteVest Pet Body Armor is an unsubtle mix of an old school punk rocker’s studded jacket and colorful Mohawk hairstyle, and a school crossing guard’s hi-vis vest.
Ohio dog owners Carlton Ross and girlfriend Cassie Smith told WJW that they bought two of the lightweight, flexible Kevlar vests for their pair of Jack Russell terriers after spotting coyotes near their home.
‘It’s so nerve-wracking cause you can hear them howling from here,’ Smith said of the encroaching coyotes.
The standard CoyoteVest — made for both dogs and cats — come with two rows of sharp plastic spikes along the spine area. Additional spikes at the back of the neck are meant to protect the most common coyote bite point, while the optional CoyoteWhiskers, long colorful nylon bristles, are aimed at warding off bird of prey strikes. The Kevlar portion of the vest can withstand sharp canine teeth and bird talons.
Neither the spikes nor the bristles are ‘dangerous to handle,’ the company says.
Ross said that he thought the vests ‘were crazy looking for sure,’ but added that ‘nothing’s gonna want to bite that.’
Ann Nerone, meanwhile, said that she bought a CoyoteVest following two incidents in which red-tail hawks swooped down on her miniature pincher, Gracie.
Fortunately, Nerone said, she had been ‘right there’ when the hawks attacked. Now, she said, when Gracie wears the protective armor, the hawks appear to ignore the little pooch.
‘I can’t imagine watching your pet get taken that way,’ Ann said, noting that the vests are ‘an alternative to doing nothing.’
Vet Dr. Gretchen Zarle, of Becksville, Ohio’s Bartels Pet Hospital said that the vests are ‘designed to slow down the attacks, so the human has time to react which might be a golden lifesaving few minutes.’
Although the neck is the most common attack point for coyotes and the back area is favored by raptors, the vests do leave the head and leg areas open, meaning that the vest wouldn’t stop a wily coyote from grabbing a limb and absconding with a pet that way, she said.
‘It’s always a crime of opportunity,’ Zarle said.
Wildlife experts advise pet owners not to leave pets alone and offleash when outside, particularly at night. It’s also a good idea to keep yards clean and make sure that trash bins, pet food and grills are completely secured at night so as not to tempt coyotes, since they are also scavengers.
When confronted with coyotes, experts say that people should clap, yell, use air horns or otherwise make loud noises to scare them off as they are generally frightened of people.
SOURCE: DailyMail, by MAXINE SHEN