Coyotes put East Montgomery residents on alert - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Coyotes put East Montgomery residents on alert

Coyote seen on game camera Coyote seen on game camera
Coyote seen on game camera (Source: Frank Evans) Coyote seen on game camera (Source: Frank Evans)
Ginger, the dog that went missing Ginger, the dog that went missing
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

East Montgomery residents are combating a newfound predator, lurking in the woods behind their subdivisions.

Some are even carrying a pistol when walking outside after dark. It isn't crime that has them on alert, it's coyotes.

Frank and Charlotte Evans haven't seen or heard a coyote near their wooded property line off Ray Thorington Road in 15 years.

Last week the predatory animals shattered their sense of security after taking their beloved Pomeranian, Ginger, in broad daylight, only 20 feet from the front door. Charlotte says she and Ginger had the same morning routine for nine years. But that morning when she opened the front door, Ginger never came back in.

While they were searching for the dog, they learned something bigger could be at play.

"My daughter was passing out fliers to anyone who was jogging and riding their bikes," Charlotte said. "One person said they had seen some coyotes in the area, and a lady that was jogging said a couple of them were trailing her."

The Evans couldn't accept that coyotes were responsible for their dog's disappearance. They hired a professional canine tracking team to follow Ginger's scent.

Three dogs independently took the handlers to a coyote den near the back of their property. The couple still needed to see it for themselves.

They installed game cameras that instantly revealed two coyotes, lingering in their yard for four hours, two nights in a row.

"These are predators, they are dangerous animals and we are going to do what we can to thin out the population," Frank said.

The Evans quickly realized they weren't alone.

They received pictures of coyotes in Breckenridge, and reports of sightings during the day in Sturbridge and other neighborhoods.

"We had no idea," Frank said. "We don't think people are taking these problems seriously. These animals are getting more comfortable around humans and they are getting more aggressive."

Alabama Wildlife and Fisheries Director, Chuck Sykes, wasn't surprised.

"The habitat was the coyotes before the people got there," Sykes said. "Just because you have a house there, doesn't mean they are going to go away. They are adaptable."

Sykes says there isn't anything coyotes won't eat.

When it comes to pets, the predators will likely do one of two things, fight to defend its territory or eat it for food.

Sykes attributes the additional sightings to new construction, pushing the animals out of their territory and the current season that allows coyotes to train their pups to hunt.

"Where you might have had one to two before, you probably have six to eight [coyotes] now," Sykes said.

As for solutions, Sykes recommends keeping all trash contained inside a bin, feeding and keeping small animals inside, and walking dogs on a leash. This eliminates the need for coyotes to prey on your property searching for food.

For those who feed the coyotes, it could have serious implications.

"The more they get habituated to humans the greater the risk of having issues with them," Sykes said.

If a person encounters a coyote, Sykes recommends everyone stand their ground and make as much noise as possible, never turning and running from the animal.

The state allows coyotes to be harvested year round.

If it is legal to use a gun in your neighborhood, the state allows hunters to shoot coyotes during the daylight, and only at night with a special permit.

For those who live inside the city limits, professional trappers are recommended.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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