Concerned neighbors report coyote sightings in Rome


Neighbors in the City of Rome are worried about what they believe are a high number of coyote sightings in recent weeks.

Tina Kohler captured a few shots of one of the animals on her trail camera on her property along Madison Street in the city.

Yesterday, Kohler found her missing kitten dead on the neighbors front lawn.

"She was strung out behind me on this front lawn and torn apart. I had to bury my pet," Kohler said.

She knows others who have spotted what they believe are coyotes in different parts of the city - some near schools and bus stops.

"What's to say that they don't start going after the children? Halloween is coming up. Are we going to let our children walk the streets now and worry about a coyote coming up and grabbing them and attacking?" Kohler asked.

Steven Heerkens is a wildlife biologist with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) who covers the region. He says his office has gotten calls of coyote sightings and missing pets in the City of Rome, and it's on their radar.

"There does seem to be some coyotes active in the Rome area...and our law enforcement has been contacted as well, but I'll probably meeting with Rome very soon here to talk about what they got going on over there," Heerkens said.

Heerkens said coyotes can learn people's routines and become too comfortable in a neighborhood setting. He says it's a challenging problem for the DEC to solve, but in the meantime, be alert.

"People shouldn't curtail their outdoor activities. Just be aware. Don't leave your pets unattended. Don't have attractants on your property. Certainly don't leave your children unattended in the backyard, but that's good advice for anything," said Heerkens.

Anyone who spots a coyote is urged not to approach the animal, and to call your local police department.

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