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Coyotes Pose Problems in St. Louis Park

The DNR is reporting an increased coyote population—and concerns from residents—in the Twin Cities.

It was 12 days ago when, not more than 20 feet from his Cedar Lake Road home, Jerry Stamm saw something that still has him losing sleep at night.

His 16-year-old Maltese, Cici, was going for a quick run outside the condominium. As Stamm watched from a living room window, two coyotes came flying out from a thicket of trees and viciously attacked the dog. Stamm bolted outside and chased away the coyotes, but Cici was already badly injured. The playful, friendly Maltese was put down two days later.

This attack highlights one of the risks of what the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources calls an “increasing” coyote population in the Twin Cities. While the state hasn't documented a human attack, a number of coyote attacks on pets—like that witnessed by Stamm—have been reported in the past few years.

“To see your dog get attacked within 20 feet of your dwelling is a horror story,” Stamm said.

That’s why the DNR, along with local entities such as the city of St. Louis Park, are trying to raise awareness about coyotes.

“We’re trying to educate people,” said Jim Vaughan, St. Louis Park’s environmental coordinator.

The city currently has a web page dedicated to dealing with coyotes, with information coming from the DNR. Recommendations include securing garbage containers, supervising pets when they’re outside and harassing coyotes when they're around.

Preventing coyotes from becoming comfortable in a residential setting is key, said Dan Stark, a wolf specialist with the DNR.

“They’re fairly adaptable,” he said. “They become more accustomed to humans over time.”

But even if people make an effort to scare coyotes off, there is no guarantee they’ll leave the Twin Cities. As development pushes outward, Stark said, more natural coyote habitat gets swallowed up. Also, an urban area has a number of readily available food sources for coyotes, ranging from small animals to garbage—a recipe for coyotes staying put.

There have been at least half a dozen coyote sightings this year across St. Louis Park, Vaughan said.

“They’re literally all over town,” he said.

The city is exploring the feasibility of coyote traps. However, setting them up “might be impossible,” Vaughan said, because it would be hard to find spots in St. Louis Park to bait traps that wouldn’t also attract pets and other small animals. There is also some risk in baiting coyotes closer to residential areas.

If traps were to be set, now would be the time, as the coyote gestation period will soon be underway. Without traps, look for an increased number of coyotes in St. Louis Park in coming months. That heightens the urgency behind the message from the city and DNR, as well as Stamm.

“I don’t want (other pet owners) to go through what I did,” he said. “It was just horrible.”

guy davidson March 29, 2011 at 03:06 PM
I have seen a few by the railroad tracks on virginia ave.
Michael Rose (Editor) March 29, 2011 at 03:16 PM
Do you have any photos, Guy? If so, we'd love to feature them. Please email michael.rose@patch.com.
Sharon S. March 29, 2011 at 04:22 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about the dog attack but trapping the coyotes isn't the answer. We will have to learn to co-exist with them, like we have with the raccoons, deer, mice, hawks, rabbits, etc. Education is the answer - we will have to change our habits and be aware that they are now living in the area. We aren't used to having to protect our dogs from predators but we have to be mindful of that now. The city's web site and the DNR's has good information about urban coyotes. This is an issue other urban communities have dealt with for decades - let's learn from their experience and realize that killing the coyotes isn't the answer.
Dan Krolczyk March 30, 2011 at 12:30 AM
Dear Coyotes: Please come to Minnetonka and try our delicious wild turkey.
Bill James March 30, 2011 at 01:50 PM
Beautimus, simply beautimus!
Thomas R. Brokl March 30, 2011 at 02:15 PM
Coyotes frequented Golden Valley Country Club in Golden Valley during the spring and summer of 2010. They followed Basset Creek hunting for ducks, ducklings and nests with eggs. They have also been seen scavenging garbage close to the clubhouse and in trash bins on the tee boxes.
Mark March 30, 2011 at 04:09 PM
I saw a small coyote on the bike trail behind Whole Foods - about 1/4 mile toward SLP. It was early in the morning. He stayed a good distance ahead of me as I walked east on the trail. He noticed me but chose not to get close. He just bounded on and off the trail into the snow. He was beautiful, but I would rather have been seeing him in a rural area - for HIS own saftey AND my dachshund's.
robert Lee March 30, 2011 at 05:57 PM
I fear, in days to come , it will take an event affecting a child being attacked by 2 or more coyotes before we finally take more decisive action!
Ruth Olson-Martin April 03, 2011 at 06:07 PM
We have had BIG problem with people not leashing their dogs, much less keeping them in our yards, fenced or not. I used to let my Sheltie escort cars to the end of the block for her natural herding instinct satisfaction....she didn't go in the street, but followed the sidewalk to the end of the block, turned on her heels and came back. BUT, it was illegal and catered to my fun of watching her. It was still wrong and I was scolded by my husband greatly for disobeying SLP leash laws. Now, my Sheltie is inside a fenced in yard and I am the one watching younger people go through their laziness in controlling their dogs and letting them out at night to roam the neighborhood and do their business so other homeowners have to pick up the droppings. Sometimes, the dogs are roaming during the daytime. Calling the police does nothing. So....killing the coyotes would keep us from learning how to control our dogs and respecting our neighbors' yards. We must take responsibility for our actions ourselves. Killing the coyotes is NOT the answer.
All God's Creatures April 05, 2011 at 06:03 PM
Coyotes go where the food is, so ... - Keep your garbage cans securely closed/latched (store in the garage , if possible) ... For garbage pickup days, garbage should be put out that morning (not the night before, where they can be tipped over and feasted from) - Enclose your bags of bird seed in secure metal containers (if stored outside/in-shed), use squirrel-proof bird feeders, and clean-up any spilled seed (which attracts squirrels) - Keep weeds & brush cut down - Do NOT feed wildlife such as deer & squirrels - Eliminate piles of "stuff" in your yard (to discourage mice population) - Keep grills clean - Fence your gardens (coyotes like veg, fruit & berries) - Keep your cats INSIDE - Do NOT feed your pets outside The above tips will not only lessen the likelihood of coyotes in your yard, but raccoons too (known for carrying rabies). Also, not only are small breed dogs (and cats) at higher risk of harm, but so are puppies & senior dogs ... who need to watch out for owls and hawks too. By-the-way ... notice I said "higher risk" ... Coyotes are pack animals and their packs have no problem taking down all sized dogs. My family has personally lost several small & medium sized dogs (Poodle, Sheltie & American Staffordshire Terrier) to coyote attacks. Best to keep cats inside & all doggies on a leash or in your supervised 6-foot privacy fenced yard. ~Pamela~
Andrea Hillis April 06, 2011 at 03:15 PM
I have had encounters with a rather aggressive coyote for the past two days. The first one was at 5:30 am near 31st st and Aquila. I had my two dogs with me. The coyote first barked at me then approached, I kept shouting, stomping, and charging, and it would only retreat a few feet and approach again. It followed me to my house, sat in my driveway and then left. day 2, went a different route, this time had someone with me. She had two metal hiking poles. I walked the dogs, and sure enough, the coyote appeared again. I don't know if it was circling around to meet us, or if it was coincidence. She charged the coyotes, hitting the poles together, and I tried to keep walking. It circled around the house she had chased it behind, and came around to cut me off. Once again, it followed us home. I leave for work early in the morning, so it is usually dark when we go out for the morning walk.
Sharon S. April 07, 2011 at 03:58 AM
Very funny!!
Sharon S. April 07, 2011 at 04:13 AM
Here are some tips I read for when you are walking your dogs and you are approached by a coyote: make a shaker and shake it - put 20-40 pennies in an empty pop can and then wrap it in tin foil. Shake it when coyote comes near. Carry an umbrella and pop it open when the coyotes comes near - animals hate surprises. Bring a whistle and blow it (although neighbors might not appreciate this at 5:30 am). If you happen to be in your own yard, spraying them with a high powered hose is suppose to work too. Good luck.
Sharon S. April 07, 2011 at 04:26 AM
Interesting website below. This is an article about how Denver has dealt with their large coyote population. Very interesting. Perhaps we should begin a 'hazing' program in SLP. It appears to have worked there. http://www.projectcoyote.org/foxdenver.pdf
andrew December 18, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Fresh deer kill heard and than spotted last night by my wife and I across excelsior blvd on third tee box of meadowbroolk golf course. Went to explore thus morning and deer was everywhere
Sharon A. Johnson December 27, 2011 at 01:54 PM
We had coyotes here frequently -- Library Ln & 1st St. Two of them were hanging out in back of the Senior High School all of the time -- up until school started in Sept. I had one 20 ft. from my back door where it had my cat cornered. Two of them passed through our yard almost every evening. Haven't seen them now since school started. We've also had fox in our backyard, and a few turkeys. I guess they follow the railroad tracks as we see plenty of wildlife on our block.
Cindy Burnham February 07, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Since moving into the Cedar Hills apts behind Aldi"s in Mtka, we hear howling coyotes alot in the eve coming from the pond off Hopkins Crossroads& Cedar Lk Rd- Crazy!!

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