Series of Coyote Attacks Have Greenville Neighborhood on Edge
As the number of sport hunters in this country continues to decline and urban sprawl continues to encroach on wild areas, people are increasingly experiencing interactions with wild animals that are acclimated to humans. Whereas it was once typical for coyotes to shun areas of human settlement for fear of the rifle’s crack, in recent years more and more suburban areas have seen populations of coyotes that not only have no fear of humans, but have learned that our garbage cans are easy pickings and our pets are easy prey.
Now one Greenville neighborhood is practically under siege by the “American jackal” and residents are at a loss on how to solve the problem:
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Residents of a Greenville County neighborhood say their pets are being attacked and even killed by unexpected predators, and they are warning others to protect their pets from the danger.
People who live in the neighborhood along Crestline Road say they feel like they’re under attack.
The fear began with the death of 15-year-old sheltie named Maggie. She was attacked and killed in her own driveway.
Maggie’s owners said they found their dog’s body covered in puncture wounds just ten minutes after letting her out one night in late February.
Neighbor Ruth DeVorsey said, “The idea that it was killed by coyotes is terrible.”
A border collie up the road was also mauled, but its owners heard the attack and intervened in time to save the dog.
DeVorsey said, “That’s two animals within four houses attacked on the same night.”
Apparently the coyotes are so settled in the area that people have heard the howl at night. Coyotes are not unusual in South Carolina, but our exploding population of transplanted urban folk not used to dealing with these varmints is exacerbating the problems associated with these animals. Trapping and hunting coyotes is necessary to control their populations close to civilized areas. Unfortunately the Disneyfied view of nature Americans now have changed the fundamental understanding of our relationship with predatory wild animals. Even the local experts are giving out bad advice:
Wildlife experts say coyotes are afraid of humans. Small pets are most at risk.
Tell that to Taylor Mitchell, a 19-year-old Canadian folk singer who was mauled to death by a pack of coyotes less than a year ago. Lone coyotes may indeed be afraid of humans and target small animals, but a pack will attack large animals including humans if an opportunity presents itself. An injured person alone, a person taking a nap by their favorite stream, a couple of teens hiding out in the woods to get high, all of these are targets of opportunity for the increasingly fearless coyote packs. Coyotes fear humans because we kill them, if we stop killing them in a couple of generations we see that fear dissipate and our contacts with these predators become more violent.
The same goes for many animals. Seattle, for example, has had a rash of raccoon attacks on dogs, cats, and people. In a recent case three raccoons came into a woman’s yard to attack her mini-pincher and when she screamed rather than flee one began attacking her. It was not rabid. Seattle has inadvertently created a raccoon population that does not fear humans, largely through so-called animal lovers encouraging the animals to live close to them by banning the harvesting of these creatures.
My advice to the Crestline Road area is to get yourself some dog food, snare wire (para-cord works in a pinch) and a book on trapping animals (like Dale Martin’s The Trapper’s Bible) and handle this problem before one of these coyotes kills one of your children.
At least we don’t have New Jersey’s black bear problem. Scientists there are warning that the population cannot be controlled without hunting, but who hunts in Jersey anymore?