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Decoy coyote in SE Reno being confused for stranded dog

By Carla O'Day
Published: Last Updated on

Feature Image: Dan O’Day

A decoy coyote that’s been in the wetlands for a least a year along the Southeast Connector is being mistaken for a helpless dog by passerby motorists, according to authorities that handle animal issues.

Washoe County Regional Animal Services has received several calls regarding the decoy in the marsh at the northeast corner of Veterans Parkway and Pembroke Drive.

County communications specialist Amy Ventetuolo said animal control staff sent a field officer to inspect the decoy and discovered it wasn’t real.

decoy coyote
A decoy coyote near the Southeast Connector.
Image: Dan O’Day

“They do agree, it is confusing for the public, as this is easy to mistake for a real dog,” Ventetuolo said.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife’s urban wildlife coordinator has received similar calls, said NDOW spokeswoman Ashley Sanchez.

“Motorists call her thinking it’s real, but it does not belong to us,” Sanchez said.

The decoy was placed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to deter geese and gulls. The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County owns the land. Such birds reportedly had been landing in that area before heading toward Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

Birds can be hazardous to airplanes but can be attracted to airports because airports are often surrounded by undeveloped stretches of land. According to a Reno airport newsletter, a large goose or gull can take out a windshield, a prop, or cause damage to a wing or tail. Smaller birds in large flocks can also disrupt and or damage aircraft.

“Airport operations personnel also work with the USDA Wildlife Services biologists to monitor and minimize wildlife activity and identifying those species endangered or protected under state and federal laws and regulations,” the airport newsletter states.

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