Coyote sighting reported in Farmington

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published February 6, 2018

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FARMINGTON — A coyote spotting in mid-January sparked a Facebook post from the Farmington Public Safety Department on how to deal with possible future encounters with the canines native to North America. 

The Facebook post noted that the Public Safety Department had received a report of a coyote sighting in the Farmington Meadows subdivision, on Farmington Road, between Eight Mile and Nine Mile roads. 

“The Farmington area has had coyotes living near us for several years, and generally they avoid human contact,” the post states. “Coyotes will go after small dogs and cats, so if you let your small animal in the backyard, you may want to go outside with your animal when you let them outside.”

Farmington Public Safety Cmdr. Justin DuLong said in an email that the Public Safety Department learned about the coyote from a Farmington Meadows resident who had heard about it on Facebook from her friends.  

“That resident requested that we let residents know about the coyote via our department Facebook page, and we obliged,” he said.  “We have not been notified of any further coyote sightings since then.”

He said that the protocol for a coyote spotting is based on suggestions from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Oakland County Animal Control.

“Residents who see a coyote should do their best to avoid the creature,” DuLong said. “For the most part, coyotes are scavengers and are fearful of humans, but they will hunt small game,” including small dogs and cats.

DuLong said coyotes are native to Michigan and “that we should coexist with them.”

The city has had the occasional sighting of a coyote in the area of Farmington Road, from Eight Mile Road to Nine Mile Road, a couple of times per year, and every now and then there is a report of a three-legged coyote in the Chatham Hills subdivision — although it is believed that that coyote may have died.

“We learn of these sightings mainly through social media and not from residents calling us,” DuLong said.  “The Chatham Hills coyote had been around since approximately 2005, and our midnight shift would see him occasionally. We’ve only been hearing about the Farmington and Eight Mile Road coyote for approximately three years.”

DuLong said it is unknown where exactly the coyotes are concentrated.

“We suspect that they live in the city parks, in the heavy brush,” DuLong said.  “We know of a large family of deer in the wooded area next to the Huron River Hunt Club; it’s possible that there is a coyote in there too.”

To his knowledge, no one in the city has ever been bitten by a coyote.  

“We have also never had a pet bitten, either,” he said.  “The Michigan DNR advises that coyotes are generally fearful of humans, but that if people start feeding coyotes in an attempt to tame them that they could be bitten by the wild animal.”

He said that the Michigan DNR says that coyotes are “extremely good” at living near people and remaining undetected.  

“Just like the foxes and deer that live in Farmington, coyotes live in heavily wooded areas, where they can hide during the day and then come out at dusk to hunt,” he said.  “Since we are in the midst of mating season (January to March), to see a coyote out during the day is not uncommon or unusual.”

Farmington Hills resident Fadwan Jarbo commented on the Facebook post and said that he has seen many of the animals in the 11 Mile Road and Inkster Road area.

He commented in a follow-up message that he has seen them often under the Interstate 696 overpass, between 11 Mile Road and 12 Mile Road.

“It’s a good spot to hide because there is a lot of tree (coverage on) both sides,” he said, adding that after he moved into the city in 2004, a coyote was seen walking the streets one day at around 11 p.m. “I pulled over to make sure not to hit him/her. It was my first time meeting this animal, because we don’t have coyote(s) back home in Iraq — I first thought it was a wolf.”

DuLong said that while coyotes can be hunted in Michigan, a Farmington ordinance does not allow any hunting.  

“If a resident is concerned that a coyote is in their area, then they can hire a private company to trap and remove the animal,” he said, adding that residents should take care of their property to discourage coyotes by securing their garbage cans and by removing any outside food — like bird feeders, dog food and the like. “And by keeping up with their landscaping to prevent a hidden place for coyotes to sleep.”

The Public Safety Department encourages residents who encounter an aggressive coyote to contact either the Farmington Public Safety Department at (248) 474-4700 or Oakland County Animal Control at (248) 391-4102.