Coyotes & Law Enforcement

This article is designed to assist Law Enforcement officials and City Managers to cope with a growing problem in many municipalities around the country, coyotes. It seems almost weekly there is a news story where coyotes are causing some type of problem. There is a investigative tool that law enforcement can apply to assist in capturing the offending coyote.

I retired after thirty years of law enforcement experience as a Detective Lieutenant on a medium size Midwest Sheriff’s Department and formed with two partners as a retirement business. My partner has thirty six years experience removing problem coyotes from urban areas and I have about thirty one years experience with both rural and urban coyote issues.

If a resident in your jurisdiction is bitten by what they believe is a coyote, your department should make every effort to collect clothing worn by the victim at the time of the bite, Why? Because when the story of an alleged coyote bite hits the news you will have two events happen. One, the Animal Rights people will flood your office with calls urging you not to hurt the coyote and that it must be the persons fault that they got bit. They will urge “Hazing” as a solution to the problem. Hazing has been recently proven not to work on habituated coyotes. Two, half of the residents in your community will want all the coyotes removed, very difficult to achieve. Back to the victim’s clothing for a solution. We can run DNA test on the clothing to determine that the offending coyote is captured and not disturb the rest of the coyote population needlessly, it may save the victim from having to get rabies injections if it is determined the offending coyote is not rabid or test positive for any other diseases harmful to humans.

Handle a reported coyote bite evidence the same as you would a sexual assault case and you will save yourself a lot of questions from the press. The main question being, How do you know you got the offending coyote? You don’t unless you follow our guidelines.

Please refer to our blog titled “Successful Urban Coyote Management” for scientifically proven guidelines to managing coyote issues in your jurisdiction. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.