RIVERSIDE, Ohio (WDTN) – Riverside neighbors are on edge after catching prowlers on camera. The suspicious pack is not of the human variety, but rather a small group of coyotes wandering in yards and streets.
Jeremy Wells assumed his wife saw several raccoons when she told him about three coyotes outside of their fence, but her suspicions proved correct when he reviewed his home security system.
“I looked at the video and there was three coyotes right here at the fence playing, fighting, whatever they were doing,” Wells said.
The surveillance video was startling because Wells has pets and small children, but his concerns grew when the family cat disappeared for a week only to turn up at their door with what appeared to be a bite mark on its rear leg.
Chris O’Banion, owner of Advanced Wildlife Management, said his team receives a spike in complaints for coyotes during the winter.
“The coyotes are more visible because of the snow,” O’Banion explained. “They’re hungrier than normal so their behavior might be affected by that, as far as the time of day they might be out and the food resources they’re looking for.”
O’Brien said coyotes typically shy away from humans, but may go after small animals when food is scarce.
“The coyote wants nothing to do with attacking a person or bothering any humans,” he said. “But if they see a small dog, a lap dog, a cat or any of the smaller pets, they’re going to view that as a food resource.”
Wells said he hasn’t seen the group of coyotes in real life, but continues finding tracks leading to a hole in a fence near a pond behind his house.
He posted a clip of his surveillance video on a neighborhood Facebook page to alert his neighbors.
“Everybody’s worried about it because (there are) cats around here, dogs, and there’s a lot of kids that walk around,” Wells said.
This map from Ohio Department of Natural Resources shows the prevalence of coyotes throughout Ohio:
The following tips come from the ODNR website:
- Understand that coyotes are common throughout Ohio’s 88 counties in both rural and urban settings. There are no wild wolves living in Ohio.
- Identify that the canine is truly a coyote and not a stray dog.
- Remove all “attractants” to possibly deter the coyote from returning. This includes removing garbage and pet food before nightfall and cleaning up around the grill.
- Keep small dogs and cats inside or stay with them at night when coyotes are most active.
- Clap your hands and shout to scare off coyotes that are investigating your yard.
- You can locate a trapper near you by calling the Division of Wildlife at 1-800-WILDLIFE (945-3543). Coyotes in rural areas can be controlled through legal hunting and trapping methods.
- Go to www.wildohio.com to view more information.