Coyote sights prompt warning to owners of small dogs

Two sightings in Wildwood on Sunday are the latest sightings of coyote's in the St. Louis area.Damon Hendricks...

Posted: Dec 19, 2017 9:29 PM
Updated: Dec 19, 2017 9:29 PM

Two sightings in Wildwood on Sunday are the latest sightings of coyote's in the St. Louis area.

Damon Hendricks of the 600 block of Shadowridge Drive said he heard his dog barking in the backyard and looked outside to see a coyote.

Hendricks told News 4, "A rather large coyote coming parallel to the yard, kind of looking at the dog and the dog was looking back at him. He wasn't afraid, just kind of curious."

Hendricks posted information about the sighting on the Next Door social media site to alert his neighbors. About an hour later neighbor, Karen Schou said she saw the post and looked outside to see the coyote in her backyard. She took a photo and posted it on the social media site.

Dan Zarlenga with the Missouri Department of Conservation said it's not unusual to see coyotes in populated areas.

"Coyote's adapt very well to being around humans. So you don't have to be out in the far-flung frontier of the area," said Zarlenga.

He said there are no documented cases of coyotes attacking humans in Missouri but they have been known to attack small dogs, not necessarily to eat them.

Zarlenga said, "The coyote can see it as a possible threat to its territory or it's personal safety, another competing canine, and that can result in an unfortunate incident.."

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department tweeted out a warning last week after four coyotes were seen in Willmore Park, near River Des Peres, in the Princeton Heights Neighborhood.

Zarlenga recommends you keep trash cans in the garage or tightly closed and bring in dog food bowls to reduce the types of conditions that can entice coyotes. He also said loud noises are a good way to scare them off.

"Don't do anything to make it feel welcome. Yell at it, scream at it, throw things at it like rocks or sticks," said Zarlenga.

He also recommends squirting a coyote with a water hose or shining a bright light on them to chase them away.

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