Coyotes on the prowl in Westfield; family pet killed

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By: James Gherardi

WESTFIELD, Ind. (Oct. 28, 2014) Coyotes are making meals out of pets.  The latest attack was on a family dog in Westfield.

Westfield, a city made up of farmland, subdivisions, and strip malls can be confusing to the wild animals. Coyotes were once at home in Westfield, but now, experts say they are confused and often find themselves going after pets.

John Parker lives on a large plot of rural land in Westfield.  On any given night he says four to ten coyotes will come onto his back yard. He set up a game camera to catch them moving through.

“I was really surprised at how many pictures I got on that camera,” he said.

Parker said coyotes weren’t always so apparent.

“Very few years ago, this was pretty much all farm land right here,” he said of the land surrounding his property.

Parker’s property, like much of Westfield, is a plot of farmland.  But now, it is surrounded by strip malls and subdivisions.

“They’re very smart and they’ve learned to adapt to a more urban setting and they have found all the sources of food that we humans provide for them intentionally or unintentionally,” he said.

The latest source of food for the Westfield coyotes was a small Yorkie. An officer with the Westfield Police Department told FOX59 the owner watched, helplessly, as a coyote darted into her yard and snatched up her family’s dog.

“If you’ve got a very small animal, that you like to let run in your backyard, I’d get a total run that’s enclosed, top, bottom, and sides,” said Tom Rogers, the director of Hamilton County Animal Control.

Rogers said on any given day there about 1,500 coyotes roaming the county.  He says homeowners have got to make sure their yard is not considered a home for the hungry animals.

“A small pet is going to be a food source, cats are going to be a food source, it’s just a fact of life. They don’t distinguish,” he said.

Rogers said the safest bet is to not allow small dogs or cats to wander around alone. If you are interested in trapping or shooting a coyote that wanders into your yard, make sure you’re not breaking the law, as each municipality has its own rules. Be sure to check where you live to see if that’s an option.