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Coyotes attack pets, raise concern in SW Colorado Springs

Homeowners in the Skyway neighborhood in southwest Colorado Springs are concerned about the potential threat posed by several coyotes there.

According to some residents, as many as four coyotes have been seen recently and two small dogs have been attacked. One attack occurred when the coyote climbed a fence into a yard.

Scott Leonard’s small black dog, Cosmo, was lucky to escape after being bitten by a coyote. The above photo was taken by a wildlife camera in Leonard’s backyard.

“It came and grabbed my dog right in front of me,” Leonard said. “I never thought that could happen here. Now that I know it can, I’m going to be that much more careful.”

Barb Jones’ small dog, Lupita, wasn’t as fortunate in a confrontation with a coyote last week.

“I found her collar up the street near an old horse stable that the coyote family is using for a den,” Jones said. “I think it climbed my fence to get in but it also could have squeezed through an opening.”

Some homeowners are calling for Colorado Parks and Wildlife to relocate the coyotes because of their proximity to a school and a park where small children are present.

“I disagree with people who say the coyotes were here first,” said James Hyman, who lives near the coyotes’ den and recently saw one on his front porch. “We haven’t seen as many as we’re seeing now. They’re pests. I’m an animal lover, but if you’d had a pet killed by a coyote you’d feel differently about them.”
But other owners say the animals should be left alone because they are native to the area, rarely pose serious threats — except if they have rabies — and help control deer and rabbit populations.

CPW says it does not respond to coyote complaints unless a human is threatened or attacked, and residents are advised to keep their pets indoors, and leashed or under close watch outdoors.

“I wouldn’t say that the coyotes are becoming more fearless of humans, or anything like that,” said Corey Adler, a CPW district manager. They’re just kind of being their coyote way, and they kind of know their boundaries, that if people are there and show their dominance toward the coyote, those coyotes are going to back away and not be a problem.”​​​​​​​
According to experts, coyote attacks are rare in Colorado. The last known local attack was in 2013 when two children were bitten at Goose Gossage Park in Colorado Springs. In two of the three incidents, the coyotes suspected of the attack were found and put down.

Coyote threats are becoming more frequent in California where the predators are losing their fear of humans and in some cases are being fed by humans — which people in the Skyway neighborhood believe is happening there.

Coyotes in California have occasionally threatened cyclists and runners, people walking pets and stalked small children.

The last confirmed death of a human from a coyote attack in the U.S. was of a California child in 1981.

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