With two dogs killed and rising sightings, Palatine hires a coyote specialist
The village of Palatine has hired an urban coyote specialist in response to increasing sightings and the killing of two dogs in the last month.
Officials also are asking residents to report sightings online at scientificwildlifemanagement.com/coyote-sightings but not to actively seek the wild animals.
The specialist was hired through the company Scientific Wildlife Management, at an initial cost of $600, to gather, monitor and report data on coyotes, Police Chief Dave Daigle said. Any additional services would be billed separately, and the cost is expected to be no more than a couple of thousand dollars for the year, he said.
Mayor Jim Schwantz said the company has worked with other municipalities, which have seen positive results. The goal is to get precise data about how many coyotes are in Palatine, how they move around, and whether any are especially aggressive.
"It's what you call 'nuisance coyotes,'" Schwantz said. "We will find out exactly what the data shows and take the proper steps from there."
That includes possibly removing and relocating nuisance coyotes, he said.
According to experts, the coyote population in Cook County hasn't increased in the last decade, but coyotes have become more visible. That's partly because the animals get used to humans and partly because people are spending more time outdoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The police department has received a significant number of calls about coyotes, probably the most in my tenure as mayor," Schwantz said. "Not just calls, but tracking (sightings) on social media in regards to postings."
The two dogs killed in the last month were a rat terrier-Chihuahua mix, which died Jan. 3 after a coyote attack in a backyard on East Pepper Tree Drive, and a Dachshund, which died Dec. 18 after it was dragged off its leash by a coyote during an early morning walk on the 1200 block of South Parkside Drive.
Residents in the last week have reported on social media spotting coyotes at Margreth Riemer Reservoir, Hamilton Park and Winston Park.