Cumming resident Arlene Chambers’ dog, Buddy, suffered severe injuries the night of June 11, and she believes coyotes might be to blame.
Chambers said the dog had a gash and claw marks on his back and a puncture on his hip. She said she has seen coyotes in her yard on Hickory Hills Road, although she is unsure of what attacked her dog that night.
“All of a sudden, I heard him hollering like he was in pain,” Chambers said. “He came and met me but he still turned around and barked at whatever it was.”
Pets like Buddy may need some extra supervision at night, which is when coyotes are most active.
“You should be very careful with how you supervise any kind of small pet,” said Ken Riddleberger, regional supervisor of game management for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “I would never let a small pet out at night without being right with it.”
However, Riddleberger said it would not be “typical behavior” for a coyote to approach a person.
Coyotes usually only lose their fear of people when someone has left out food for them, leading them to associate human contact with getting fed, he said.
Riddleberger said since coyotes are unprotected animals, they are always in open season.
However, he said while the sight of a coyote is not a sign of immediate danger, if the coyote approaches a home or a pet or is “acting oddly,” a state-licensed trapper can safely remove the animal.
Stewart Cloud is the director of wildlife services at Skyline Pest Solutions in Cumming, which is licensed by the DNR. He said he only receives a call about a coyote once every few months.
Trapping a coyote can be expensive for private homeowners because of the large and complex traps needed, Cloud said. Because coyotes cover a large amount of land each day, traps must be set every 50 to 100 feet.
“Just because you see a coyote in your yard that morning … you may never see that coyote again,” Cloud said.
He said if a coyote appears in the same area consistently, there may be a den nearby.
Cloud said repellents can be purchased to deter coyotes from entering an area, although these are not always completely effective.
A list of trappers licensed by the DNR is available on georgiawildlife.org at this link.