Coyotes take up residence in Durham neighborhood

June 7, 2012 3:16:47 AM PDT
A Durham woman told ABC11 she has spotted several coyotes in her backyard recently, but is having trouble getting help to get rid of them.

Michelle Arriaga lives on Green Street, and her house is surrounded by a wooded area.

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Arriaga said she has contacted several agencies seeking help with what to do about the wild animals taking up residence in her yard.

"I've called everyone. I've called Animal Control, Critter Control, 911. I've called Mayor Bell and left a message. I called the county commissioner's office and left a message. I've called everyone I can call short of a hunter's service," Arriaga said.

Wildlife officials said coyote sightings have increased in recent years as their population continues to grow. Arriaga said animal control officials told her coyotes were used to control the stray cat population.

"I've been told that the agencies are just not equipped for this type of animal, but no one's given me a resource that is equipped for that type of animal," Arriaga said.

But the Durham resident said the animals she encountered were about as tall as her picnic table, and she doesn't want to see the children in her neighborhood in danger.

"I don't want to see someone get hurt when it could've been prevented with my first phone call," Arriaga said. "I just want someone to be proactive."

ABC11 reached out to Durham County officials who referred us to the Durham County Sheriff's Office. Officials told ABC11 that after the recent departure of the Durham Animal Control Director, the sheriff's office is in the early stages of taking over animal control.

The sheriff's office said it is now investigating Arriaga's coyote sightings. They added that the alleged comment about coyotes controlling stray cats was not proper protocol.

The sheriff's office said Arriaga could expect a reassuring phone call Wednesday night.

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