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Coyotes becoming a problem

Community meeting to present tips is Dec. 4

Coyotes are getting a little too close for comfort for some residents of Walden’s Ridge, where coyotes have recently been spotted in broad daylight roaming neighborhoods and approaching closer to homes than ever before.

“My husband’s family has been on this property for 100 years, and not in anyone’s recollection has a coyote ever approached the home,” said Walden resident Judith Dwyer, who recently spotted a coyote near her back deck at 3:30 in the afternoon. “For whatever reason, they’re feeling more and more comfortable coming into populated areas.”

She said a group of coyotes attacked her dogs in her yard twice within the past two weeks.

“I have two big healthy dogs, and it was alarming for them to come back the second time, knowing our dogs were here and would fight them,” she said.

Dwyer said no cats are left on her street, and dogs have been mysteriously disappearing as well. When people start losing pets they start to think about getting rid of the coyotes, she said, so she contacted coyote expert Jeremy Hooper with the Chattanooga Nature Center to see what could be done.

Dwyer said Hooper informed her that relocating the animals is not a feasible possibility, and if the coyotes are shot another group is likely to return to the same location.

“They’re very territorial, and they keep the other coyotes out of their territory,” she explained, adding that coyotes also start to breed at a younger age when members of their group are killed, so shooting the animals could make the problem worse.

Hooper told her the best way to discourage coyotes from coming into a neighborhood is through a concentrated community effort, said Dwyer. He has agreed to speak at a community meeting concerning the coyote problem at Walden Town Hall, 1836 Taft Highway, Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.

“He will teach us what to do as a collective group to dissuade the coyotes from coming into the neighborhood,” Dwyer said. “We hope to get the information out that needs to be out and try to get them under control as a community.”

She said for the effort to work the entire community needs to be aware of certain practices to avoid, such as keeping garbage out of the animals’ reach, as they are attracted to an easy food source. Hooper, who did his master’s thesis on the coyote invasion of metropolitan Atlanta, will also offer other tips such as particular sounds one can make to deter coyotes, said Dwyer

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