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      Salina considers proposal to exterminate coyotes in the town

      file photo

      Some neighbors in the Town of Salina say they're worried about coyotes. Now, they're asking the town to consider a proposal that would allow them to hire a private exterminator to kill the animals.

      Neighbors in the Scottsdale Circle area in Salina say they have seen a coyote several times. Laurie Turton says the coyote killed her family's cat back in February. On Monday night, Turton and several other neighbors asked the Salina Town Board to allow animal control experts to use firearms and kill the coyote.

      James Dispenza said he hasn't felt safe allowing his grandchildren to play outside since the coyote has been seen.

      "Our yard is fenced but even with the fence, we don't know if the coyote could jump the fence to get at the them," said Dispenza.

      Animal protection advocates argued against the proposal that would allow professionals to kill the coyote with firearms. Deedee Dillingham said coyotes are shy animals that normally stay away from humans - and that the town should not interfere with nature's food chain.

      "I don't want humans hurt, I don't want animals hurt but in whole environmental and ecosystem chain of things, that's what's going to happen is that animals have to fend for themselves and their families," said Dillingham.

      The Salina Board asked animal control expert Al LaFrance to come to the meeting. LaFrance said he believed the town should allow he or another professional to kill the coyote with a firearm. LaFrance said the animal was likely losing it's fear of being around humans and showed several pictures of children that had been injured by coyotes in other parts of the country.

      "Action needs to be taken because it's not going to stop. It's going to continue and it's a question of - is the next time it's a dog or the next time it's a person?" said LaFrance after the meeting.

      The Salina Town Board will take the issue up again at their next meeting on April 23rd.

      Salina Town Supervisor Mark Nicotra says the town code dictates firearms cannot be used within the town's borders, so the town would have to grant an exception to allow the neighbors to hire an exterminator.