Increased coyote sightings in Decatur have pet owners on guard

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DECATUR, Ala. – People in Decatur are noticing an uptick in coyote sightings.  These wild animals have been spotted everywhere from subdivisions to downtown. The sightings are creating a sense of fear and concern for people’s smaller outdoor pets.

“They’re not doing anything malicious or mean, they are trying to survive,” explains Decatur Animal Cruelty Investigator, Miles Naylor.

He says there’s a reason for the roaming, and even feeding, people have seen right outside their front door. Decatur, like many other cities, battles a rising feral cat population and when people feed them, "You basically create a bait station for the coyotes," said Naylor.

Cat

This picture was recently taken in Downtown Decatur.  The coyote has a cat in its mouth.  According to Naylor, there have been more sightings but the population has remained the same.

"It's just this time of year when they are breeding and getting ready to have pups,” said Naylor. “They are a little bit more on the move so you do see them more frequently."

Naylor adds coyotes are not aggressive towards humans, but they view cats and small dogs as a food source.

"If you've got a cat you need to keep it indoors, especially in Decatur," said Naylor.

If you walk outside your home and spot a coyote prowling call animal services. They will come out and try to capture the food source in the area. Naylor says this is more effective than targeting the coyote, who will only return back for more.

Animal services urges you to be proactive:

Don`t leave cat or dog food outside in the open.

Be on guard for your outdoor cats and small dogs.

Also, if you see coyotes and you have a bird feeder out, take it down.

"They are pretty here, we just have to live with them," said Naylor.

Investigator Naylor says if you do spot a coyote near your home, you can usually yell at it to scare it away. They do not typically attack animals that are of a comparable size.