Tag Archives: coyote problem

Pets Disappearing/Coyote Problem

A coyote
A coyote causing problems in a neighborhood.

Caller:  Pets are disappearing from our neighborhood, particularly cats.  Are you trapping and removing them?

Trapper:  Our records show we haven’t sent anyone out there recently.  Are they pet cats or feral cats that are disappearing?

Caller:  Both.  We live in a farm community, basically, and a lot of us have pets, but there are also some feral cats that live in some of the abandoned buildings around here.  I’m trying to find my pet cat, and I found out some of my neighbors’ cats are missing, too.  That’s why I called, to see if you’ve been out to our area catching cats.

Trapper:  No, no, we haven’t been to your area, but I’m thinking you may have a bigger problem.  You may have a coyote problem, or a badger problem.

Caller:  Oh, no.  I did find some strange tracks the last time it snowed.  I never saw tracks like them before.  They were big, and just, different.  I didn’t know what it was.

Trapper:  Did you take pictures you could send me?

Caller:  No, and the snow’s melted since then.  I didn’t even think about it, but it might be connected.

Trapper:  Maybe, maybe.  A lot of times a coyote will come into an area and kill the cats.  Sometimes they’ll carry off the small dogs and challenge or injure big dogs, too.

Caller:  Do they go after deer, too, because the deer have been really wound up.  I mean, we’re seeing them in places they don’t normally go.  Also, we used to have a lot of wild rabbits around here, and we haven’t seen hardly any in a while.

Trapper:  Oh, yeah, coyotes will definitely go after the deer, too.  A lot of times, people won’t even know they’ve got a coyote problem until pets start disappearing, but yeah, coyotes will go after both domestic and wild animals.  Wolves, too.  And badgers.

Caller:  Well, how would I know if it was a coyote?  I mean, other than those tracks, how can I tell?

Trapper:  Coyote droppings.  They look like dog droppings, only blacker, and a lot of times they’ll have the fur from cats or other disappeared pets they’ve eaten.

Caller:  I haven’t seen anything like that, but then, I really haven’t been looking.

Trapper:  A lot of times, dogs will actually attract the coyotes, too, because people will let them bark, and the coyotes take that as a challenge.  So, they attack and kill the dogs or maim them.  Or, people will let their cats out, or feral cats run around, and the coyotes just see that as a food source.

Caller:  So, what do I do?  Do you think my cat’s, just gone?  And, all the other pets that have disappeared?

Trapper:  Well, I can’t know for sure unless you want me to get out there and take a look for signs of a coyote problem, or wolves, or whatever.  A lot of times, when it affects an entire neighborhood or area, people will get together and chip in to pay for trapper services.  When you have pets disappearing like that, you might want to talk with your neighbors and give me a call back.

Caller:  Yeah, I think I better do that.  Thanks.  You’ll hear from me soon.

Coyote Problem

A coyote
A coyote causing problems in a neighborhood.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

I thought coyote problems only happened in really remote areas of the country, in places where people ranched or farmed and had to get in their truck to drive to visit their closest neighbors.  My uncle has a pig ranch in Idaho, and he talks about how he lost a favorite dog to a coyote one night when the dog ran off instead of coming inside, or how mad he was when a coyote destroyed all of his chickens.  When we’d visit my uncle, my sisters and I always had a great time, with the exception of the pig smell and the sound of the coyotes at night.

So, you can imagine how I felt the other night when I went out of my cute cookie-cutter house in my little cookie-cutter neighborhood to take the garbage cans down to the street for pickup the next morning, and heard a pack of coyotes yipping and barking to each other somewhere close to the neighborhood.

I couldn’t believe it, and my uncle’s stories came flooding back to me.  I don’t live in the boonies.  I live in a very populated suburban area.  True, the subdivisions went up only about six years ago, but the area was built up very quickly and is more densely populated.  Surely we couldn’t have coyote problems here.  Surely, I couldn’t be more wrong.

My husband didn’t believe me until he left for work early the next morning, and heard the coyotes’ wild sounds floating across the still subdivision.  In talking with other neighbors, we discovered a few households had lost a cat, and just figured the cat had wandered off.  Now, we suspect a far worse fate for beloved pets.  As we became more aware of the coyote problem, people stopped going jogging by themselves in the evening or early morning hours.  Parents started making children stay inside instead of walking by themselves to a friend’s house.  While the coyotes had not yet posed a real threat to a human, the potential was there, and we changed our lifestyles slightly to be more careful.

I soon grew tired of it, and so did my children, who wanted to get back outside with their friends to ride bikes or play soccer.  I wanted to stop worrying about the dog, who wasn’t raised to be an indoor pet.

While there is a bounty on coyotes in our state, we still live in a populated area, and can’t just go out coyote hunting without putting a lot of people at risk.  So, we needed a professional service to get rid of the coyote problem for us.  Fortunately, most of the neighborhood was willing to chip in, and we got a really good expert through Allstate Animal Control.  We’re all still pretty wary, realizing that, even though we’re not in a remote area of the country, we can still have clashes with wild animals.