Conservation group voices concern as plan to trap and kill 'nuisance' coyotes in Wauwatosa moves ahead
It comes as some residents, especially those in the Fisher Woods area, are on high alert following a coyote attack that killed a dog.
Shauna Kleinhas is one resident that had a scary encounter with a coyote while she was in her backyard with her German Shepherd, Jerry Lee.
"It kind of looked at us, glared at us. I ran inside my house in complete fear," said Kleinhas.
She's been on high alert ever since.
"Ever since that moment, I'm outside at you know, five or whatever with my dog, and I can't see anything, my heart's pounding, you know, you're looking around, constantly playing defense," said Kleinhas.
A Yorkie was recently killed in the backyard of one Fisher Woods home. Now, in an effort to locate the coyote, the city has hired a company to put out traps on willing residents' properties. Once trapped, the coyotes will be killed.
Kleinhas says she doesn't see another way.
"I think if they relocated them, chances of them coming back in the area are high," said Kleinhas.
Michelle Lute is the carnivore conservation manager for Project Coyote, a national group that advocates for wildlife. She says it's true, coyotes can't be relocated, but Lute doesn't believe killing them is the answer.
"We advocate for preventative, proactive measures," said Lute. "We do not advocate for inhumane, cruel trapping because that does nothing to prevent the situation. That removes a singular coyote, you don't even know if that coyote was involved in the incident."
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says food and rodents in yards will continue to attract coyotes, even if it's just one resident in a neighborhood.
Nathan Holoubek is a wildlife biologist for the DNR. Holoubek says just the sight of a coyote isn't a reason for concern.
"Usually they mind their own business and we mind ours," said Holoubek. "If they follow you or express interest in you or your pet...always make sure your pet is on a leash when you're out and about, if you're in your backyard, be out there with small dogs."
He says to keep loud noisemakers on hand to deter them, like a can with coins in it.
Lute and Holoubek both say it's normal for coyotes to co-habitat with humans, even in urban areas.
However, Holoubek says it is also legal for people to put coyote traps on their properties, and there is a legal coyote hunting season in Wisconsin.