Geneva cops might start shooting paintballs at coyotes
Geneva is bringing in help from the Humane Society of the United States to teach residents how to deal with coyotes.
It is also creating a coyote-management plan, including a chart categorizing contact with coyotes by type and severity of event.
The city council recommended the plan Monday night and will formally vote on it March 16.
Two speakers from the Humane Society will present workshops for the public and for city employees.
The public workshop will be at 6:30 p.m. March 30. It will be limited to 50 attendees, per the request of the Humane Society, said City Administrator Mary McKittrick. It will be videotaped for broadcast on the city's website.
The employee workshops will be conducted March 31.
Both will include training in hazing coyotes.
Alderman Ron Singer asked how the education component would work, given the city has provided tips for years.
"My concern is what was done five or six or seven years ago wasn't effective, or the public didn't perceive it as effective," he said.
In June 2014, residents from two west-side neighborhoods complained about coyotes, and the city promised to keep track of sightings and attacks on pets and humans.
The residents of Fisher Farms and Prairie Ridge said the coyotes were aggressive and no longer scared of humans. They also said the coyotes were undeterred by hazing techniques including shouting and waving arms.
Before that, the council last talked about coyotes about 10 years ago. It decided then merely to teach residents about coyote behavior, how to avoid attracting them and how to scare them off.
Under the proposed plan, police would become more involved, including hazing especially aggressive coyotes by shooting them with paintballs, copper balls or bear spray. The job could also be done by trained volunteers, according to the proposed plan.
Alderman Mike Bruno was concerned about that.
"It (paintballs) seems like a great hazing tool, but we need to understand that this is not a warrant (for residents) to go running around a neighborhood with paintballs," he said.
The city will pay the Humane Society workers' travel costs and donate $500 to the society.
Aldermen Dean Kilburg and Tom Simonian questioned why the Humane Society was chosen. McKittrick said it was the only agency city workers found that already had a written management plan communities could use.
"The Humane Society is a fine organization, but I think that they have an agenda here that may not appeal to everyone as it relates to coyotes," Kilburg said.
Resident Eileen Coyne, who lives in Fisher Farms, asked if the city could cut down prairie grasses on the grounds of an FAA beacon near the subdivision. Residents say coyotes have established dens there.
McKittrick said the city has asked. "My recollection that they were not receptive to the idea of cutting those prairie grasses down," she said.