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Wily coyote possibly on loose in Carolina Shores

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

CAROLINA SHORES—Residents in the Village at Calabash are being warned about a possible coyote on the loose in their neighborhood.

Bill Brennan, Village at Calash POA president, said recent incidents, including the killing of a duck this past Sunday night, are being attributed to a coyote.

A resident recently photographed an animal roaming the community after dark that is believed to be a coyote.

Brennan said a former animal control officer who lives in the neighborhood identified the mystery animal as a coyote.

Brennan has been warning residents to watch out for children and pets, especially after dark.

Brennan reported recent sightings by residents to Brunswick County Animal Control, which does not normally handle wild animal issues, Brunswick County Animal Services director Richard Cooper said this week.

Cooper said it is a matter that will have to be addressed by the state wildlife department.

“If it’s a nuisance, then we’re going to refer them to wildlife unless they attacked something—a domestic animal or human,” Cooper said.

Since rabies is an issue, the department would have to shoot the animal and there would be no way of knowing if they got the right one, he said.

Cooper said development is pushing wild animals such as coyotes out of their habitat, one reason why one might be showing up in a coastal area neighborhood.

Brennan said he is still waiting to hear from the wildlife division of the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources since the county department said it’s not under their ajurisdiction.

He said a private animal removal company also declined to deal with the problem, since coyotes fall under the wildlife category.

“The unidentified creature roaming the Village, as discussed in several e-mails in the last week or so, has been identified as a coyote by a resident who was an animal control officer in a prior life,” Brennan stated in a recent alert to about 160 residents on a community Internet system.

Coyotes’ natural prey includes rodents, cats and, sometimes, small dogs, added Brennan, who has researched the issue.

“Of course, they are searching for food,” he added in the e-mail. “So in addition to keeping your animals safe, please do not leave food in accessible areas and make sure your trash cans are closed.”

Tips posted by Brennan to his neighbors to help ward off a coyote include:

•Never feed or inadvertently feed a coyote by leaving out food, pet food or bags of garbage.

•Use a proper trash can with a lid that closes tightly or clamps shut.

•Clear property of weeds and brush to reduce protective cover for coyotes and ward off rodents.

•Protect children and pets. Never leave children unattended even in the yard. Keep pets indoors and don’t allow them to run free.

If you encounter a coyote, the San Jose, Calif., Web site further advises using negative reinforcement by making loud noises, throwing rocks, or spraying them with a garden hose to encourage the wolf-like animals’ natural wariness of humans.

Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at llewis@brunswickbeacon.com