Coyote warning: ‘You’ve just got to be mindful they’re here’
by Nikki Wiley
July 24, 2013 12:13 AM | 2785 views | 7 7 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — There’s not much the county can do to ward off coyotes, says Cobb Chairman Tim Lee, though the wild canines have been reported throughout the county.

Coyotes live in every Georgia county and while they may threaten small pets, they pose little risk to humans, said Brent Womack, wildlife biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

“You’re going to find them from swamps to wetlands, from urban areas to suburban,” Womack told the Board of Commissioners at a work session Tuesday.

Lee said county officials can’t do anything to keep the animals at bay.

“You’ve just got to be mindful they’re here,” Lee said.

They’ve been spotted across Cobb.

“Throughout our parks system and a lot of neighborhoods in Cobb, there’s a lot of concern about the neighbors seeing coyotes,” said Eddie Canon, parks services director.

Few diseases can be transmitted from the animals to humans. Rabies may be the disease most notorious, but Womack says it’s a rare occurrence because contagious animals only live between a few hours and two days.

Most of the effects on people are nuisances.

Coyotes have been known to dig holes in lawns, knock over trash cans and destroy property.

“Sometimes we get calls where coyotes, or some other animal that was probably a coyote, has dug up (a) pipe and chewed it up,” Womack said.

Confusion between behaviors of coyotes and dogs can lead to the wild animals getting the blame for actions of their domestic counterparts.

Coyotes don’t kill for sport, Womack said.

“It all boils down to coyotes don’t attack for fun,” Womack said. “If they go after something it’s to consume it.”

Dogs may see attacking an animal as playing and might abandon it without eating.

No attack on a human has been documented in the state, though urbanization has made coyotes more comfortable with humans.

“They can get more bold based on their lack of threat by humans,” Womack said. In rural areas they might be shot and killed, but that is less likely in more developed areas.

The animals are opportunists, he said, and will eat most anything. That includes small pets, food scraps left in open trash cans and pet food.

“Coyotes can be an impact on domestic pets, especially cats that are left outdoors,” Womack said, adding it’s less common for dogs to be targeted by the canines.

He advises pet owners to protect their animals by keeping them inside and keeping a close watch when they must be let outdoors.

“Once it’s outside, it’s part of the natural environment,” Womack said.

The DNR does not provide trapping services, though if the animal wanders onto private property, there is no law against trapping or shooting it if local ordinances allow for the firing of weapons.

But trapping usually isn’t the right answer, Womack said, because that does not remove what is attracting coyotes.

“It’s not like a coyote is staying on a 3-acre site,” Womack said. “They’re covering a wide range of area.”

Outdoor food should be removed and if the animal is seen, it may be warded off by making loud noises, throwing rocks or other deterrents.
Comments
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Jean Crabbe
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July 24, 2013
Coyotes are not the problem; irresponsible pet owners who don't keep their animals up at night are the problem. Research has shown that bird population increases in areas where coyotes live. If they're able to kill an occasional deer, then I guess that's one less for the hunters. I once lived on an Air Force base in the Mojave desert, and the Powers That Be thought it would be smart to eliminate coyotes. The jack rabbit population exploded, and suddenly the coyotes didn't look so bad. Personally, I love knowing that there is still some untamed wildness left in nature to enjoy.
Diamond Jim
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July 24, 2013
I live near the Battlefield Park and we have lots of them around here. One positive effect they have had on my neighborhood is bringing the feral cat population, which was exploding, under control. And no, coyotes are not a threat to deer. They might kill an occasional fawn if they find one, but they are not fast enough or strong enough to bring down full-grown animals as wolves can do. One of the reasons for Georgia's exploding deer population, and all the attendant problems it brings, is the lack of natural predators.
discouraging
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July 24, 2013
It is discouraging to hear that Yes, the coyotes are all over the place, we are seeing them in my neighborhood, and that No, nothing can actually be done to get rid of them. Heard of one person who lives out in the county, and not in a densely populated area, shot one and got into a lot of trouble. So guess we just sit around, watch them eat deer, small pets, but don't worry, it will be all right. Sounds just like Congress!!

Lost Coyote
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July 24, 2013
Somebody need to put up some Lost Coyote signs next to all the Lost Cat and Lost Yappy Dog signs and then maybe just maybe all the irresponsible pets owners that bait the coyotes will finally start to get the hint. Then we can hit them again with a sermon on Sunday about coyotes. And then the MDJ can write an editorial about how dangerous coyotes are and how city council is failing at dealing with them and New Order can march against coyotes from the CCT transfer station to the Racetrack. To make their march last a while they can use a crosswalk somewhere.
Cemetery Anyone?
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July 25, 2013
So how would a cemetery be "baiting" a coyote?
Ed B.
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July 24, 2013
Yes, they are certainly in West Cobb - Hadaway Rd. and around Lost Mountain Middle School. They will kill off the deer population is my fear. Since discharging firearms is not an option in densely populated Cobb County, the coyote population will continue to grow.
CobbChris
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July 24, 2013
Ed B. that's why Cobb is the best place to bow hunt! Keeps yotes away and makes for great practice when deer season rolls around.
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