Following recent reports of coyotes attacking pets, Palatine Township officials are planning an educational seminar to teach its residents about the animal's behaviors and what to do in case they encounter one.
Township Clerk Lisa Moran said officials are searching for "an authority on coyote issues" to participate in the seminar, and decisions on how to deal with coyotes will be made once the local officials have enough information.
"I think we all need to be educated on the issue before we take any further steps," she said.
Jeff June, a resident of Plum Grove Estates in Palatine, sees coyotes almost daily in his area. On May 13, his Yorkshire terrier was killed by a coyote that appeared directly in front of his family home.
"I understand that it's nature, but there shouldn't be coyotes within five feet of my front door," June said, adding that he has not seen rabbits in the neighborhood for about five years.
Kathy Muno, president of the Forest Estates Homeowners Association, echoed June's sentiment.
"These coyotes are very territorial," she said. "They attack small animals, but they're not killing for food. They're marking their territory."
"Neighbors realize that they need to keep track of their pets and small children," she added.
Residents in June's neighborhood have even developed their own telephone tree warning system. When a neighbor spots a coyote in the direct area, they call each other to spread the word.
Elsewhere in Palatine Township, the village of Inverness sends out coyote information pieces in their newsletters, said Village Administrator Curt Carver.
"Since the 90s, the village has adopted a role of education," he said. "It doesn't engage in active trapping."
Inverness is unusual because it does not allow fencing along residential lots, in accordance with a long-standing village ordinance. However, Carver does not believe changing the fencing ordinance would help with the coyote issue.
"I'm not sure that perimeter fencing is going to change the nature of that habitat," he said.
Palatine Township is hoping to have a date set for the seminar before its township meeting next month.