Geneva officials promised two west-side neighborhoods Monday to improve how the city keeps track of coyote sightings and coyote attacks on pets and humans.
The information-gathering will help the city council determine what, if anything, to do about the animals.
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Residents of the Fisher Farms and Prairie Ridge subdivisions, which are west of Randall Road, complained to the council Monday about aggressive coyotes in their neighborhoods.
The coyotes are no longer scared of humans, they said. The animals have approached people as they walked their dogs, followed one woman on her early-morning runs, and been seen on the grounds of Heartland Elementary School while schoolchildren are present.
Residents told the council that the coyotes are undeterred by shouting and waving arms, two hazing techniques recommended by wildlife experts to get coyotes to run off. A female coyote and her pups have even moved in underneath a backyard deck, and one man said he found coyote feces on his patio.
"They seem to have picked up on our habits, our timetable," said Brian Darnell, who said he was attacked by two coyotes while walking his dog. They persisted in the attack, even after he scooped his dog in to his arms, stomped his feet and yelled at the coyotes.
Wendy Cullen said she screamed at a coyote Monday morning on Bricher Road, and it didn't move, and that she was at a party Saturday afternoon when a coyote walked through the yard.
Residents also criticized the city for not being much help, saying they were told incorrect information that the city can't do anything because coyotes are "protected," or told to call Kane County Animal Control. Animal Control, however, does not deal with wildlife.
The only statistics officials had Monday were from calls to 911.
The situation seems to have changed from when the council first visited it a decade ago, Alderman Chuck Brown told the crowd. Then, wildlife experts said trapping would be ineffective and that hazing should work, as the coyotes were unaccustomed to being around people. The council decided to just educate residents about coyote behavior, how to avoid attracting them and how to scare them off.
It appears the coyotes in the Fisher Farms area have become habituated, said coyote trapper Rob Erickson of DeKalb. He said it is likely that only a few "alpha" coyotes are doing the attacks. Identifying those individuals, trapping and killing them would likely eliminate the aggressive attacks, he said.
The city will collect reports on coyote sightings via a form on its website, geneva.il.us. Erickson said it is important to note any markings or distinguishing characteristics such as a limp or mange; what direction it is traveling; and its disposition.
The city administrator was also directed to find out what other cities do about habituated coyotes, including whether they hire trappers. Mayor Kevin Burns also asked aldermen to consider whether the cost of trapping in a neighborhood should be paid for by residents of that neighborhood, via special property tax assessment or through a homeowners association. not the city as a whole.