Coyotes are snatching pets in Erie and the problem is getting so bad, Parks and Wildlife officials are seeking volunteers for a coyote crew.
ERIE, Colo. -- Brazen coyotes are becoming more aggressive in some Erie neighborhoods.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say since July, there have been 32 reports of coyotes attacking pets in the Coal Creek Open Space, Vista Pointe and Erie Commons neighborhoods.
CPAW spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said it appears that coyotes are losing their fear of humans.
"The more we tolerate them," she said, "the more they're going to keep pushing the envelope."
Coyote goes through pet door
Churchill said one coyote was so brazen, it actually followed a pet through a dog door.
"A coyote that is so comfortable that it's running into a pet door, that's when it really has no fear of humans," she said.
"It's scary," said Genny Turecheck, whose dog, Hanna, was attacked by a coyote. "Thirty-two pets is one thing, a child is a whole different story."
Churchill said that in years past, some bold coyotes began nipping at children in Broomfield.
To prevent a recurrence, CPAW and the Town of Erie are seeking volunteers for a "coyote crew" to help educate the public about coyote behavior and the importance of hazing them.
"Instead of pulling out cell phones to snap pictures, you should be clapping your hands," Churchill said. "You should be saying, 'get the heck away from me."
She said if the coyotes don't react, you should shake a stick at them, use an air horn or even throw a rock at them.
"It's hard for some folks to want to scare off animals," Churchill said, "but that's how wildlife exists. They need to get out there and find there own food sources and live natural, wild lives."
Dr. Bonnie Abbott, a veterinarian who owns Vista Animal Hospital, believes the "coyote crew" is a good idea.
She too lost a pet to a coyote back in September.
She let her terrier, Lander, out in what she thought was a secure back yard. She heard a loud shriek and when she went outside, Lander was gone.
"There was no sign or trace of him," she said.
Now, Abbott tells her patient's owners that they should remove dog food bowls from their front porch and to get rid of koi ponds and bird feeders.
"A bird feeder is like a little McDonalds for coyotes," she said. "It attracts squirrels, it attracts birds and those are little prey species for coyotes."
Abbott said homeowners should also secure garbage cans, get rid of compost piles and actually walk out into the yard with your pet when they need to relieve themselves.
"Don't stand by the door, while they walk out to the fence," she said.
She wrote this blog to help homeowners protect their pets.
Churchill said if the "coyote crews" aren't successful in getting the public to help change coyote behavior, and the attacks continue, wildlife officials may have to take more drastic action.