The coyote controversy in Salina is sparking a passionate debate. Monday night, the town board room was filled more than 60 people, many who were against shooting the coyote that's causing concern among some neighbors.
"We have to respect our wildlife, and everything in our environment. I just feel very strongly about that," said Joan Antczak.
Salina is considering lifting the local law to allow a professional to come in and shoot a coyote, which has been spotted repeatedly in the Scottsdale Circle neighborhood. In it's last meeting 2 weeks ago, it heard from many concerned neighbors who wanted to kill the coyotes and eliminate any safety risk to their families.
Animal advocates argue a coyote attacking a human is very rare and say seeing them more often this time of year does not indicate aggressive behavior.
But recently, a coyote killed Laurie Turton's cat and now neighbors are worried about the safety of their kids and pets.
"Everybody who is talking about this is going to have to go home at night and go to sleep knowing that if something happens to a child or adult injured or worse case dead they are going to have to understand that this was brought up to them," said Turton. "And they could have done something about it and nothing was done."
Most sides agree that killing one coyote won't kill the problem. Animal experts say it could even lead to more coyotes coming in. "Nature doesn't like a vacuum. If you've left a space, more coyotes will come in so the town will have a bigger problem then what they started with," said Coyote Expert Elise Able who hosted an educational meeting earlier in the day for neighbors. "It's just sort of foolish to think you can kill everything and the problem will go away."
Animal advocates say there are simple ways to keep your property safe like securing your trash and covering your compost which coyotes eat. Keep your pets indoors, watch them closely when they are outside and make sure your kids know to stay away from the coyotes. Also, experts say don't let them intimidate you, use loud noises and lights to scare coyotes off.
Lawmakers say whatever solution the board comes to everyone needs to be okay with it
"I want to get two groups together," said Board Member Jim Magnarelli. "Dealing with this problem, it might be cutting off food supply instead of killing them but I need to the neighbors of Scottsdale Circle to be comfortable with that."
The town board has pushed back a vote on the measure. It will hold another public hearing on the issue on May 14th at 6:30 PM.