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Coyotes spotted in Southfield

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published August 28, 2019

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SOUTHFIELD — A local homeowner recently caught on camera what she believes to be a coyote.

Resident Michelle Spranger, who lives in the Berg Hills neighborhood — which is in the area of Berg Road, between Nine Mile and 10 Mile roads — said in an email that she caught a coyote on the trail camera installed outside her house at around 5:15 a.m. Aug. 6.

On Aug. 11, another Berg Hills resident posted to the NextDoor app that her dog was attacked by what she believes to be coyotes. She said in the post that her 35-pound spaniel was chased into the house by two coyotes in her fenced backyard.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website, coyotes look similar to medium-sized German shepherds. They vary in color, but typically, a coyote has yellow-gray fur on its upper body, and the fur on its belly and throat is described as white or cream color. They have pointy ears with a bushy, black tail.

Joanie Toole, of the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center, said in an email that the coyote sightings are due to the urbanization of the area.

“Oakland County has gone through a lot of changes over the years, and one big change is the growth of businesses and residents within the county. Homes and buildings stand where woods once were, making it all too common that humans and wildlife are going to meet,” Toole said in an email.

Toole offered a simple tip when it comes to encountering coyotes: Stay away.

“More and more sightings have been reported regarding coyotes within urban settings,” Toole said. “You have to remember that their territory has been shrinking every year.”

Toole recommends not leaving pets or small children outside unattended, and to make sure your pets are up to date on their vaccinations, as wildlife can spread diseases to pets.

Another key tip is to make sure your yard is tidy.

“Wildlife like to hang out where they can hide; take away tall grass or any other objects that could give them protection,” she said.

The DNR’s website states that, typically, coyotes feed on small mammals like mice, shrews, rabbits and squirrels. In urban areas, however, coyotes are attracted to garbage, garden vegetables and pet food.

Coyotes will also prey on unattended small dogs and cats, and small livestock. During the fall in Michigan, coyotes begin dispersing from their den sites to find new homes, which sometimes results in them wandering into urban areas, the website states. While they are most active at sunrise and sunset, coyotes usually feed at night, according to the DNR.

If you do spot a coyote, Toole recommends contacting your local animal control agency. Southfield Animal Control can be reached at (248) 796-5410.

Deputy Police Chief Nick Loussia said that as press time, the Police Department had not received any official reports of coyotes in the city.

If residents see a coyote in Southfield, Loussia said in a previous report, they can call the Southfield Police Department at (248) 796-5500 for nonemergencies or 911 for emergencies.

Animal Control Officer Shannon Hamilton could not be reached for comment by press time.