|WARNING: Graphic images that may disturb some are at the end of this article. |
|The back of the Hlebiczki's yard is close to Highlands High School. The Highlands Fieldhouse can be seen in the background. FTM file.|
The Hlebiczkis lives steps away from Highlands High School and that is one of the main reasons why he brought the issue to council. "I don't want a coyote going after a child," he said. "I don't want my grandchildren to be a victim."
Hlebiczki believes that the deer population and growing wild turkey population are what's causing coyotes to move into the area. His wife, Helen, agrees. "It makes sense that the coyotes are predators and if there is prey in the area, they are going to go after it," she said.
While they didn't witness Beauty being attacked, neighbors and other patrons at the veterinarian corroborated that they had seen coyotes in the area. The vet's first inclination, according to Helen, was that the dog had been caught on a fence. "She was on an electric fence, and that just wouldn't have been possible," she said.
City Administrator, Don Martin, said that he had talked to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and that they do not believe there are programs in place that can effectively remove coyotes out of a city. "From what we've been told, coyotes move into an area, establish a family unit, then move on. It's cyclical," he said. "I went through some of the old council minutes and there were concerns raised about coyotes decades ago."
“Coyotes are very adaptable. They are now found in all 120 Kentucky counties,” said Laura Patton, Furbearer Biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “I suspect there are higher concentrations in agricultural areas. They eat everything from grasshoppers to garden vegetables.”
According to the department, coyotes have made suburban areas their home, and are often observed in back yards, or prowling neighborhood streets during the night. Suburban residents should take note that coyotes will kill and eat domestic cats, but Patton said attacks on small dogs are often related to territorial issues, than feeding.
According to Martin there have not been any documented coyote attacks during his tenure in Fort Thomas. "I checked with a couple of long-time employees (20+ years) and they are not aware of any type of attach in the city, either," he said.
“Experts on this issue say that trying to cull a herd doesn’t work. Coyote-killing programs are ineffective, won’t reduce populations are are costly. Coyotes also help control the deer population naturally,” said Councilwoman, Lisa Kelly. "I understand why the fear exists, but our data is what we should basing our decisions on. We are fortunate to have dedicated green space and wildlife reserves which sets us apart from other cities."
Martin said that the best advice from the Department of Fish and Wildlife to discourage coyotes from hanging around, was to keep pets and pet food inside during the night, and put trash secured in garbage cans.
|Beauty was wounded on her side and on her front leg.|