DNR: Coyotes not a threat in Troy

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 2, 2016

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At the request of the Troy City Council, a police service aide and a Michigan Department of Natural Resources representative presented a program at the Jan. 25 council meeting about the coyotes in Troy.

Troy Mayor Pro Tem Ed Pennington said that a coyote attacked his neighbor’s dog.

“It’s a problem we’ve never had before,” Pennington said. 

“This has been a topic in the city,” Mayor Dane Slater said.

Troy Police service aide Steve Vaillancourt estimates that there are 40-50 coyotes in Troy.

Holly Vaughn, DNR representative, told the council that there are coyotes in every county in Michigan, and they are present in urban areas.

“They are generally shy and have to be habituated to human presence,” Vaughn said. “They prefer woodland edges and prairies. They make their dens on slopes, hillsides and hollow logs.”

She said coyotes have a home range of 2 to 5 square miles.

“They hunt small mammals and birds and hunt for food alone,” Vaughn said. “They don’t travel in packs, but occasionally in family groups.”

She explained that coyotes are most active at dawn and dusk and in March and April. She said that the coyotes “take care” of other mammals that could become pests.

Although they may live 13 to 14 years in the wild, the average life span is 1 to 4 years.

“They can be trapped in the city by a licensed nuisance animal company that has a permit to do so from the DNR,” Vaillancourt said.

“A property owner can’t trap without a license,” he said.

He offered these tips to keep coyotes at bay:

• Keep pets on a leash at all times.

• Don’t feed pets outside and remove food from outside.

• Don’t touch a coyote.

• Eliminate garbage.

• Clean up wood and brush piles that attract rats and mice, which are food sources for coyotes.

• Coyotes hate loud sounds, ammonia and perfume.

“If you are in immediate danger from a coyote, call the Troy police,” Vaillancourt said. “They are here to stay.”

He noted that in the past 19 years, there have been five reported coyote attacks on pets.

“If we were to remove all coyotes, others would move in and there would be struggles for power,” Vaughn said. “You’ve got great habitats here in Troy.”

“Don’t leave pets unattended or out of sight,” Vaughn said.

Debra Williams, lead naturalist at the Lloyd Stage Nature Center, which has a large deer population, said they’ve seen coyotes on occasion, but it’s not a regular occurrence.

Resident David Giroux told the council he saw two different coyotes running through his yard. He said that his pet dog received puncture wounds in the neck from a coyote.

“It happens,” he said.

“We are tracking each incident,” Slater said, adding that the council would revisit the issue.

“It will be an ongoing issue,” said Troy City Manager Brian Kischnick, noting that the city no longer provides animal control services. Oakland County now provides animal control in Troy, but the county will not remove coyotes.

The Troy Police Department recommends that residents experiencing problems with coyotes contact a licensed nuisance company. The typical cost for these services ranges from $300 to $750.

Police provided this list of removal companies: Critters Be Gone:  Mark Evans, (248) 722-2058;  Goreman’s Wildlife Removal:  Benjamin Foreman, (248) 894-1944; animal control specialist:  Trent Masterson, (248) 431-8712; and ACT Live Trapping:  Jeff Stonerock, (248) 475-4550.

A list of additional licensed nuisance control companies can be found at www.michigan.gov/wildlife.

The city’s report on coyotes is available at www.troymi.gov.

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