Coyotes strike urban neighborhood

AZ Game and Fish

Coyotes strike urban neighborhood

CREATED Jan 30, 2012

Reporter:  Jessica Chapin

TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - Pet-owners are on alert after a pack of coyotes hit one urban neighborhood over the weekend.  Some residents are even calling on wildlife officials to take action against the dangerous wild dogs.

Erin Madden and her room-mate Kelly Facteau live near 1st St. and Roger Rd. with several pets.  But, after they heard noises late Saturday night they have one less.

"We heard the coyotes making a kill and we realized it was probably one of the cats," said Madden.

Facteau went outside to check, and saw several coyotes in the middle of the road.

"There were three standing right there in the middle of the road," she said, "that's how close they were I could tell one of them had a grayish tint to it that's how clear I could see it."

She saw two more in the other direction.  The next morning she went looking for their cat, and found it dead in the neighbor's front yard.  Her cat wasn't the only victim.  Another neighbor's cat was killed, and Facteau says she heard a total of five pets were picked up that day by Animal Control.

"Just scares me," she said, "I'm afraid to go out with my dog even at night without something in hand and I shouldn't have to."

Madden says she wants wildlife officials to take action.

"I would like for them to round them up and put them out in the wild somewhere move them to another location so they don't come back," she said, "and I would like to alert everybody."

9 On Your Side took her concerns to Arizona Game and Fish spokesperson Mike Hart.  He says coyote sightings have not increased in the past year.  Since last January, they have received 71 reports, and 11 incidents involving pets.

Hart says they can't relocate coyotes, "because there are too many species of urban wildlife in Tucson.  If that's what we did," he said, "we would spend all our time doing that."

Hart says coyotes are not a direct threat to humans, and people can take several precautions to keep them at bay.

"If you're a pet owner walking your dog and you see a coyote immediately pick your dog up stand your ground and stare at the coyote," he said, "You can stamp your feet, make loud noises and they will go away."

Hart says a 6-foot fence with barbed wire can keep them out of a yard.  Residents can also string PVC pipe horizontally with a wire inside so that when a coyote tries to jump a fence, it rolls off.

As for Madden and Facteau, they are keeping their pets indoors.  Madden says she presses her car alarm when she hears the dogs in her neighborhood to scare them off.

Residents can also report wild animals to Game and Fish using their hot-line:  1-800-352-0700.

For more information about living with urban coyotes, click here.