Frank Vincenti, the founder of the Wild Dog Foundation, says coyotes are not on the prowl in any great numbers on the North Shore.
In fact, there are only two male coyotes, around Searingtown.
Vincenti said the coyotes have not gone into Albertson or Williston Park, and they have a defined territory and movement pattern.
“It hurts me when, and this is why I want to do this, is when the public says ‘there’s one there’s got to be 50 million of them!’ If there were 50 million coyotes we’d have them pay taxes,” Vincenti said at a lecture at Shelter Rock Public Library on Tuesday.
Vincenti’s mission is to “alleviate anxiety or misconceptions” about the coyotes around Searingtown. He said that residents can coexist with the animals.
Vincenti said that the coyotes tend to spend their time by the Northern State Parkway in more wooded secluded areas running along the power lines between Searingtown Road and New Hyde Park Road.
Vincenti, a Mineola barber, started the foundation in 1996. Vincenti said of the nonprofit foundation, “I don’t get paid. I’m doing this for free.” He said that he has been fascinated with coyotes since he was a child.
He said that he does support the coyotes in the area and wants to educate the public on how not to attract them and to leave them alone.
“Unfortunately, the only time when coyotes make the news is when there’s some sort of conflict,” Vincenti said.
Vincenti said during the lecture that sightings in the area were of the same two male coyotes living in the Searingtown area since January 2018. He said he wants the public to know that the number of coyotes in Nassau is not growing because there has been no breeding.
Vincenti said misreports of coyote sightings often tend to be red foxes suffering from sarcoptive mange, an infectious skin disease for dogs, coyotes and foxes.
“They’re not house mice. There’s been no breeding. I’ve looked into these animals for over a year,” Vincenti said. “If there were puppies, if there were breeding, you would have seen them.”
One resident, who did not identify herself, said during Vincenti’s lecture that her husband had been chased by a coyote on a late-night run. Vincenti said that this was the first time he had heard of coyotes chasing someone.
If one sees a coyote, Vincenti said, he should attempt to scare it off making loud noises, shouting and stamping feet.
Vincenti said to avoid leaving food outdoors at night, including food out for feral or outdoor cats, and if one suspects there could be coyotes lurking to keep an eye on dogs when letting them out at night.
Vincenti said that when a family of 11 coyotes settled near LaGuardia Airport, the workers fed them, which made the coyotes assimilate to the environment.
Eventually, the coyotes were rounded up and euthanized by the Port Authority in late 2016, Vincenti said.
“A fed coyote is a dead coyote,” Vincenti said.