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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Fort Thomas Resident Worried Coyotes Moving into Area

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. 
Lou Hlebiczki believes his dog, Beauty, was attacked by a coyote. He says the 15-year old beagle, lab mix was lucky to have lived through it. "She was sliced from underneath and it required staples and a drain. There was blood all over the back porch and steps," he said.

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. 


  1. Take the advice of fish and wildlife and take your animals in at night. Why do folks want to start killing every species encroaching on their urban life? I feel bad for the dog, but leaving dogs outside unattended is a bad idea any time of the day.

  2. I don't see that there is any evidence it was a coyote since nobody saw it happen and the vet doesn't say that's what it was.

  3. I've been seeing wild dogs all over town for years. They are isolated occurrences happening once every several months. It probably has more to do with the deer problem than we think.

  4. I've seen 4 coyotes in the middle of town since Mother's Day weekend. I've seen one early morning - chasing deer in my back yard, one crossing Tremont Avenue in the middle of the day, and one just last week in my front yard around 2pm.

  5. I don't see why we couldn't bow hunt them using the same guidelines as deer management. Our cats have been treed all day and night. It's no use trying to get them in at night. Killing them would help.

  6. There was a pack of them on Indiana Ave last night about 3 am, haven't seen the neighbors cat since and something was getting attacked. They came up through the woods.

  7. There was a pack of them that were on Indiana Ave a few nights ago near highlands, pretty sure they ate the neighbors cat because something got attacked I could hear it all about 3 am. Haven't seen the cat since.

  8. I believe that one ran across the road in front of my car last night on Neuman Ave. It came out of the woods and shot across the street. There are always deer in this area.