It was two years ago when Tim Lewis, who lives near Kennesaw and owns Axis Architecture, first spotted a coyote in his subdivision.
“He was just crossing the road in front of me at night,” Lewis said. “At first it looked like it was just a German Shepherd.”
Since then, Lewis has seen a coyote five or six times in his neighborhood.
“I’ve seen him twice in the front yard in the middle of the day like around 1 o’clock in the afternoon,” Lewis said.
He’s never felt in danger, Lewis said, but takes extra precaution not to let his dog outside alone or keep food scraps nearby that the coyote could be attracted to.
“I like animals. I certainly wouldn’t want to kill one,” Lewis said. “I just wish he would move on somewhere else.”
Marietta City Council members opted to include information about coyotes on the city’s website following sightings by residents at a committee meeting two weeks ago. The Cobb Board of Commissioners also discussed coyote sightings in late July.
They’re in every county in the state.
The animals get a bad rap and aren’t likely to have any interest in interacting with humans, said Brent Womack, wildlife biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
“You’re talking about an animal that’s about 30 to 40 pounds max,” Womack said.
Outdoor cats and small dogs can be the target of hungry coyotes, Womack said, and trappers can be hired to remove them.
Still, Womack says it’s “foolish” to think the animals can be completely eradicated from an area.
“They’re here and they’re going to be here so if you remove an animal, another one is going to move in,” Womack said.
Coexisting with humans
Residents are better off trying to co-exist with the animals. Womack suggests giving coyotes a “bad experience” by making loud noises or throwing rocks to reinforce a fear of humans.
Coyotes aren’t particularly nocturnal and are common in Cobb, just like snakes or rabbits.
“We all forget about that because we don’t see them every day,” said Tom Flynn of Mableton, who retired as a field operations manager for Cobb animal control a few months ago.
Animal control received plenty of calls about coyotes when Flynn worked for the county department.
Coyotes are considered varmints, Flynn said, and can be killed if a resident believes they are in danger.
But Cobb has a local ordinance prohibiting the discharge of firearms in the county.
“If you discharge a firearm in a residential area, you’re going to have to explain to the police why you did so and you need to be in imminent danger,” Flynn said.
And, he maintains, it’s a hard case to make.
“You’re more likely to get struck by lightning while you’re aiming for the coyote than to be attacked by the coyote,” Flynn said.