Coyotes aren’t just being spotted, they’re believed to be killing small dogs in the Jackson Township and North Canton area.
It’s not the way Jeanne Oldham wanted to start her first day of vacation in Key West: Tears rushing down her face and an aching heart at the news that her 11-year-old dachshund was killed back home by a coyote.
Ten days later, the loss of Daisy, a Mother’s Day present in 2002, still stings. What’s worse for Oldham is knowing that she’s not the only one.
Several reports have been filed with Jackson Township and North Canton police of both sightings and coyote attacks on small pets in recent weeks.
“We’ve had coyotes a number of times over the years,” Jackson Township Police Chief David Zink said. “I think they’ve been displaced by some construction. We’ve never had them attacking dogs before.”
Before leaving for vacation, Oldham spotted a lost-dog flier for a Yorkshire Terrier. Owner Sharon Deagan said she now believes her dog was killed by a coyote when the family let him out into their yard around 1:30 a.m. March 21. The Deagans live less than a mile from the Oldhams in an area northwest of Lake O’Springs.
Coyotes can be found in all 88 counties in Ohio. Most active at dawn and dusk, they eat small mammals, insects, fruits and berries, grains, nuts and food meant for pets and humans. They typically stay away from humans unless provoked.
Brad Dupont, 21, was caring for Mark and Jeanne Oldham’s three dogs, one cat and two birds during their vacation in Key West. Dupont, a Walsh University junior, is dating the Oldham’s daughter, Rachel. He’s grown close to the family and their pets.
Dupont let the three dogs out around 10:30 p.m. March 24. The dogs stay in the backyard, even though it is not enclosed. They’re accustomed to doing their business and then heading straight for the back door of the Oldham’s home, which is a development constructed in 1998.
One dachshund, Grace, and a Collie named, Cali, ran to one side of the small yard, which is surrounded by homes on all sides. Daisy went in the opposite direction. Cali and Grace returned to the house. Daisy didn’t.
“I called for Daisy and as soon as I said that I heard something moving around,” he said. “The only thing I saw was the coyote running off with the dog and it looked dead already.”
Dupont called Rachel and then the police, who helped him search the area for the dog. Dupont saw the coyote run toward a wooded area a block away from the home.
“I talked to Jeanne and she was crying,” he said. “She was obviously beside herself. I was too. I was so shocked it happened.”
Page 2 of 3 - Jeanne Oldham installed motion lights, bought a wind chime and plans to put up a fence. Dupont purchased a BB gun.
“I’m dumbfounded that something could happen in our neighborhood,” where the family has lived for four years, she said. “No one has ever said anything about coyotes. We’re in such a populated area.”
Deagan believes her Yorkshire Terrier, Mr. Bear, died the same way. She has an electric fence that the dogs never cross. Several neighbors, including some she’d never spoken with before, responded to her flier after the dog went missing. The dog was never found, even after canvassing the neighborhood.
“It’s just shocking,” Deagan said. “... It couldn’t be that he disappeared and no one saw him.”
Veterinarian Dr. Angela Gamber knows of two other dogs that died from coyote attacks in recent weeks. A poodle was killed near the Akron Canton Airport and a 16 1/2-year-old mixed breed was killed off near Everhard Road.
“I have never heard of this until this year,” said Gamber, a veterinarian since 1995. “I suspect it’s because we’re impinging on their territory.”
Jordan Rosedale, who lives on the 40-acre Hollydale Farm at Dressler Road and Fulton Drive NW, has trapped and killed 33 coyotes in the last seven years to protect a pair of swans that occupy a pond there. A dozen of animals have weighed more than 50 pounds and another was a massive 70 pounds, he said. He suspects they are a hybrid of a coyote and a wolf that has migrated to Ohio. Wild wolves do not live in the state.
North Canton Police Chief Stephan Wilder warned residents in early March to be on the lookout for coyotes after a resident reported a “wolf-like animal” trying to enter an area of Dogwood Park where geese were located. He hasn’t had any major complaints about coyotes in the last month, but said it’s important residents remember their surroundings.
Call the police if you spot a coyote, he said, and keep small pets on a leash.
“Watch your little ones, watch your surroundings and watch your pets,” he said.
Reach Matthew at 330-580-8527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @mrinkREP
SAFETY TIPS: IF YOU SPOT A COYOTE
• Make sure the coyote is truly a coyote and not a stray dog.
• Remove all “attractants” to deter a coyote from coming onto your property, like garbage and pet food, and clean outdoor grills.
• Keep cats and small dogs inside or stay with them at night when coyotes are most active.
Page 3 of 3 - • Clap your hands and shout to scare off coyotes. Throw rocks or spray them with water.
• If those steps don’t work, contact a nuisance trapper. To locate a trapper, contact the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543)
• In rural areas, coyotes can be controlled through legal hunting and trapping. See www.wildohio.com for details.
SOURCE: Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife