Greenwood Village To Kill Coyotes

City To Allow Culling, Trapping

It wasn't the number of calls, it was the manner of them which caused Greenwood Village's City Council to adopt extreme measures in dealing with a coyote population that has grown more aggressive.

During a special meeting at lunchtime on Thursday, Greenwood Village adopted several new ordinances which will allow the trapping and the shooting of coyotes in the city's limits.

Lt. Joe Harvey of Greenwood Village police said one of the encounters that swayed the decision was that of a Greenwood Village boy who had to defend himself from a coyote on New Year's Eve.

The incident happened on a trail in Westlands Park, in the 6500 block of Powers Avenue.

“(The coyote) jumped up at my face,” said Matt Scheper, 14, Friday.

The teenager explained to 7NEWS what happened when he encountered the lone coyote.

Scheper said the coyote began to zig-zag in his direction before lunging at him.

"It jumped up and I just elbowed it in the snout out of the way,” Scheper said.

The boy was not injured but his mom, Deborah, said she reported the incident to police after thinking about it for several days.

“I thought I have a 13 year old daughter and had it been her out there, I don't know it would be the same outcome," Deborah Scheper said.

That incident, as well as a report of a man being surrounded by three coyotes last month, prompted the council to decide strong action was needed, Harvey said.

Jack Murphy, executive director of Urban Wildlife Rescue, questioned the effectiveness of shooting the coyotes.

"If the plan is to indiscriminately kill coyotes, then they may be making the problem worse," Murphy said. While conceding an aggressive coyote should be removed, Murphy said new coyotes would likely move in to areas where others have been killed. He said human behavior needs to be addressed first. "We can shoot them, we can poison them, but take an example from the ranchers. The ranchers have been killing coyotes for 200 years, and if killing coyotes worked, the ranchers would not have a coyote problem," Murphy said. Greenwood Village city officials said they plan to enhance public education programs, reminding residents about how to interact with coyotes, as well as reminding them not to feed the animals.

The city is also applying for a 30-day permit from the Tri County Health Department that will allow the city to trap the animals. Any coyotes caught would be killed, Harvey said.

The final step is a contract with Animal Damage Control, a nuisance control company. ADC will be allowed to shoot coyotes on city property.

"It is an open-ended contract until a time that the public officials believe the population has been thinned enough," Harvey said.

Greenwood Village received 258 calls about coyotes in 2007. That number dropped to 186 last year. So far there have been 29 calls in the first six weeks of 2009.

"It is a citywide problem," Harvey said. "We have been getting reports all over."

Harvey said there were no estimates on the population of the animal in the city. Jennifer Churchill of the Colorado Division of Wildlife said her agency was not involved with Greenwood Village's actions.

DOW has a policy not to trap or shoot coyotes unless it shows aggressive behavior toward humans.

Churchill added that the department is not changing that policy.

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