Wild coyotes tormenting Durham neighborhood

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April 16, 2010 4:33:36 PM PDT
Residents in a Durham neighborhood say wild coyotes are roaming freely in their backyards.Fearful residents have called animal control, but neither the county nor the state can help.

"We've got cats missing, we've got cats the tails are off of them, so I did call animal control," resident Linda Rowland said. "It's a real concern of mine that something could hurt a child."

But the close encounters have not convinced animal control to help out.

"We do have a presence of coyotes and we're aware of it," said Melinda Duarte with Durham Animal Control.

Duarte says by law she can't trap a coyote. Most animal control offices in the Triangle are only licensed to handle domesticated animals, leaving people like Rowland with only one option.

"If they are on their property and they're in the process of attacking or attempting to attack small animals they'd be in their legal right to shoot it," Duarte said.

Rowland was told to call the North Carolina Wildlife Commission.

"Wildlife told me I couldn't trap it, because I wasn't licensed," Rowland said. "I couldn't shoot it, because wildlife has rights we should have rights too. We're the ones paying the taxes."

It would take taxpaying dollars to train and license animal control officers according to state and local officials. It would also require a change in the law.

"These things are dangerous and if we don't have somebody licensed then we need to get somebody licensed," Rowland said.

For now, Rowland has to hire a privately licensed trapper if she and her neighbors want to be rid of wild coyotes -- an expense she can neither afford nor ignore.

"It's time to take action to get something done to keep these animals from attacking," Rowland said.

ABC11 Eyewitness News made several calls to the state wildlife commission to ask the county whether it would consider changing the local ordinance for animal control to include wild animals. But the calls have not been returned.

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