Burnham Woods, a wooded neighborhood on the southwest side of Fort Wayne, has had some sightings that have some residents on edge. People have seen coyotes walking in their backyards.
“There seems to be a family of them,” said Bob Behr, who lives in Burnham Woods. “Mom, dad and possibly some cubs and stuff too.”
The coyotes being seen in the neighborhood got more attention when a conversation about them got more interaction on an app called Nextdoor, which acts as a chatroom for people who live near each other to post about their areas.
One person told WANE 15 News she let her dogs out, and when she went to let them back in, the coyotes were standing by the fire pit in her backyard, feet away from her house. She said she shined a flashlight at them and that scared them away.
The neighborhood association contacted the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) about the coyotes. It says the coyotes will not attack unless provoked. They can be easily scared away with a garden hose or loud noises, but residents should not let their children or small pets outside without supervision, especially pets that weigh less than 15 to 20 pounds. Those are the most at-risk for attack. The DNR also recommends looking at additional safety information here. The DNR said it does not have any plans to remove the coyotes at this time.
That decision left at least one person in the neighborhood feeling fine. That person spoke to WANE 15 News anonymously.
“They’re around. They’re kind of an animal that’s numbers are on the rise,” said that neighbor. “I see them at work, but I’ve never seen them not running away from me. They’re definitely more afraid of us than we are of them.”
Nextdoor has a post that says these coyotes attacked and killed a German Shepherd, but the DNR said it has not heard of that attack, and local animal hospitals in the area have not gotten any reports on that either. The DNR said an attack on an animal as large as a German Shepherd is unlikely from a coyote. Coyotes are prone to attack small animals, but it sent WANE 15 the following statement on preventing coyote attacks.
“It is a misconception that coyotes do not live in urban environments; however coyotes are adaptable and actually thrive in urban communities. Because they are present, we really want to empower people with the tools to prevent conflicts in the first place. We like to encourage feeding pets indoors or picking up after if pets are fed outdoors. We also want to remove accidental sources of food like garbage, food left on grills, and spilled bird food.”