Coyote sighting in Chesterfield neighborhood

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -  It's likely just scavenging for food, but one Chesterfield woman says a coyote has gotten too close for comfort.

She spotted the wild animal in her backyard off Harwick Drive in the Stonehenge subdivision near Courthouse Road and Midlothian Turnpike.

Chesterfield Animal Control has only heard from one person about this coyote, but it is the talk of the community.

A walking tour of this woman's yard last Monday captured tracks in the snow.

"This is where I saw him," she said.

A coyote she said.

"They look like little dog prints.  Here's one, two," she said.

Too many for her liking.

"We have nuisance animal in our yard hunting our pets," she said.

A Chesterfield Animal Control officer couldn't find the wild animal.

"These animals are going to be here just like all the other wild animals they're going to stick around this is their habitat and we've got to kind of co-exist," said Robert Leinberger with Chesterfield Animal Control.

The woman said to avoid looking foolish, others who've seen it haven't come forward.

It's caused a lot of chatter, especially on the Times Dispatch online.

One suggests hunting down the wild animal.

Another writes "leave the coyotes alone."

"They can be hunted in Virginia, however you have issues with subdivisions that you can't just go through a subdivision and randomly hunt animals you have to have permits," said Leinberger.

Just stay away and it may move on says Leinberger.

Unless you leave out something enticing like dog food.

Coyotes are considered nuisance animals here in Virginia and won't pass up a free meal.

But one way to keep them at bay, is to secure your trash cans.

Also, keep small pets indoors.

"It's probably a good idea just to be on the safe side. But coyotes or not you should still be keeping track of your pets anyway's," said Leinberger.

The woman said it's too expensive for her to hire someone to catch the coyote although she's still going to try to get it on camera.

After that she's not sure what she plans to do.

Wild animals fall under the jurisdiction of Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries.

But Chesterfield Animal Control will respond immediately if a coyote or other wild animal is sickly, has been injured or a person or pet has been exposed to it.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.