Cobb coyote alert
by Nikki Wiley
November 09, 2013 01:25 AM | 7702 views | 5 5 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Coyote seem to be gettting more brazen in suburban areas, officials say, adding they pose little threat.<br>Special to the MDJ/John Dyal
Coyote seem to be gettting more brazen in suburban areas, officials say, adding they pose little threat.
Special to the MDJ/John Dyal
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MARIETTA — More residents are spotting coyotes throughout the county, but officials say they pose little threat and there’s not much that can be done to ward off the varmints.

It was two years ago when Tim Lewis, who lives near Kennesaw and owns Axis Architecture, first spotted a coyote in his subdivision.

“He was just crossing the road in front of me at night,” Lewis said. “At first it looked like it was just a German Shepherd.”

Since then, Lewis has seen a coyote five or six times in his neighborhood.

“I’ve seen him twice in the front yard in the middle of the day like around 1 o’clock in the afternoon,” Lewis said.

He’s never felt in danger, Lewis said, but takes extra precaution not to let his dog outside alone or keep food scraps nearby that the coyote could be attracted to.

“I like animals. I certainly wouldn’t want to kill one,” Lewis said. “I just wish he would move on somewhere else.”

Marietta City Council members opted to include information about coyotes on the city’s website following sightings by residents at a committee meeting two weeks ago. The Cobb Board of Commissioners also discussed coyote sightings in late July.

They’re in every county in the state.

The animals get a bad rap and aren’t likely to have any interest in interacting with humans, said Brent Womack, wildlife biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

“You’re talking about an animal that’s about 30 to 40 pounds max,” Womack said.

Outdoor cats and small dogs can be the target of hungry coyotes, Womack said, and trappers can be hired to remove them.

Still, Womack says it’s “foolish” to think the animals can be completely eradicated from an area.

“They’re here and they’re going to be here so if you remove an animal, another one is going to move in,” Womack said.

Coexisting with humans

Residents are better off trying to co-exist with the animals. Womack suggests giving coyotes a “bad experience” by making loud noises or throwing rocks to reinforce a fear of humans.

Coyotes aren’t particularly nocturnal and are common in Cobb, just like snakes or rabbits.

“We all forget about that because we don’t see them every day,” said Tom Flynn of Mableton, who retired as a field operations manager for Cobb animal control a few months ago.

Animal control received plenty of calls about coyotes when Flynn worked for the county department.

Coyotes are considered varmints, Flynn said, and can be killed if a resident believes they are in danger.

But Cobb has a local ordinance prohibiting the discharge of firearms in the county.

“If you discharge a firearm in a residential area, you’re going to have to explain to the police why you did so and you need to be in imminent danger,” Flynn said.

And, he maintains, it’s a hard case to make.

“You’re more likely to get struck by lightning while you’re aiming for the coyote than to be attacked by the coyote,” Flynn said.

Comments
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Urban Wildlife
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November 20, 2013
Fear, myths and misconceptions are all dispelled by education. A website promoted by wildlife professionals: http://coyotecoexistence.com/

MoniqueW
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November 20, 2013
The coyotes fill a necessary niche in our area--they find plenty to eat and in doing so control other animal populations--everything from squirrels, to mice, to lizards and deer. Cobb has a huge feral cat population, which is also kept partly in check by the coyotes. Being opportunistic carnivores, they also scavenge carcasses and roadkill. Their population, like all others, is naturally controlled by the availability of food.

Live and let live. Unless your dog is very small or is somehow incapacitated, it is probably very safe outside. If your dog is very small, it isn't actually safe outside from other predators, such as large hawks. As for the rabies worry, it is easily kept in check by vaccinating our domestic pets and staying away from direct contact with wildlife.

As for solutions to lowering the population of coyotes, all of the options are very dangerous for domestic pets or humans--traps, poison, and shooting all pose a very real danger. I can only imagine the outcry if someone's pet were shot, poisoned, or caught in a trap!
Bob@Lee's Crossing
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November 19, 2013
We live at the base of the Kennesaw Mountain Park. In the last two years we have had animals killed by the coyotes. Even the Mountain Park Rangers will not let their dogs loose for fear of attack. The coyotes travel in packs and look for victims - many a night we can hear the howling after a kill. Now our animals are sequestered to an indoor life as we cannot risk allowing them to roam our yard. The coyotes have become quite a problem, and they are regularly spotted in clear view. Something must be done to control their population, as they have been spotted as far south as downtown Atlanta. This was not a problem for 20 years of living in this community. Just my take on the issue.
what now?
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November 10, 2013
So we are just supposed to love these vermin and learn to live with them? What happens when they kill one of our pets? What happens if rabies should get into the vast numbers of coyotes we have? I live in a neighborhood close to the square and we have at least 2 pets that were killed. We see coyotes in broad daylight, apparently unafraid. Too bad we can't shoot them.
oneoldurn
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November 09, 2013
Old saying: believe half of what you see and none of what you hear. In unincorporated Cobb you cannot shoot over your neighbors property without their permission.
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