Are You Afraid of Coyotes?

Humane fence roller keeps pets in, wild animals out
By Julia Lane, July 2010, Updated June 2021

Having lived in New Orleans for most of my adult life, it was a shock to see my first coyote in our semi-rural neighborhood in northern Illinois a few years back. One look at their confident gait and hard yellow eyes and there is no mistaking them for a dog. Some of my friends told me horror stories about coyotes snatching pets, but I still found them to be exotic, a curiosity.

This summer, new road and bridge construction about a mile away from our house is pushing hungry, homeless wildlife into our area, including a coyote pack. While walking three of my dogs one afternoon, I saw a coyote hunting mice in a neighbor's pasture. He looked up and saw us, but didn't budge. My Catahoula started baying, eager to chase him, which set off the other two dogs. I managed to hold onto their leashes and turn around to go back the way we came. Even though my dogs were not afraid, I was surprised to find my heart thumping out of my chest and feeling fearful.

With five large dogs and the removal of a tempting chicken coop, I don’t expect to see coyotes leaping our six-foot wooden privacy fence anytime soon. But that incident along with concerns over our occasionally outdoor cats climbing the fence and becoming a coyote meal lead me to check out the Coyote Roller.

This new product is installed atop any fencing, chain link, wooden or iron. The roller prevents an animal – even large birds like crows – from getting traction. There is no electrical shock; the animal simply rolls off. Seems like a win-win situation to me, assuming you can afford it. (See video demo below.)


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Personally, I can do without the scaremongering of the company’s “Top 10 Reasons Why You Need the Coyote Roller.” As suburban sprawl aggressively swallows wide, open spaces, it’s important to remember that we’re the invading species, not coyotes, raccoons, skunks or other animals that are conveniently labeled as pests.

Do you live among coyotes? If so, how do you keep your dogs safe? What would you do if you saw a coyote in your neighborhood?

Julia Lane owns Spot On K9 Sports, a training facility in the Chicago area, and offers online dog-sport coaching. She is the author of several travel books, and her byline has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets & Writers and elsewhere.

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