Rising worry for the increase in coyote sightings across Springfield
Coyotes are being spotted in residential areas of Springfield. More and more residents and city officials are worried about their pets and property, but right now, they said there’s no easy solution to the problem.
Imagine walking down your street, it's dark and cold, and suddenly you're face to face with a coyote. That's the exact scenario brought up to the City of Springfield and police responded by saying there isn't a solid solution just yet.
"There it was, thin, slender and very fast,” said Alderman Ward 6 Kris Theilen.
Coyotes are prowling around inside the city.
Four of ten Springfield wards have spotted the close relatives of the gray wolf.
Alderman Theilen said he and his dog have encountered coyotes first-hand.
“[My dog] took two steps out of the door, and he just froze,” said Alderman Theilen. “He knew something was out there. I've never seen him do that before, or since."
Besides ward 8, coyotes have also been seen in ward 6, 7, and 9.
"We have all that room out there, it doesn't make any sense,” said one resident, Wade Ebert.
Ebert said he definitely wasn't expecting to see them.
“As I turned the corner my headlights caught some dogs,” he described the scene. “And they weren't dogs, they were coyotes and they were really healthy; I’m going to say they were 40 pounds easy."
Police said residents can't fire a weapon in the city, and the Animal Control Center said they don't capture wild animals, so what are residents supposed to do?
"At this point, right now, it's very much a gray area,” said Alderman Theilen.
"Kind of like the ‘Mutual of Omaha’s: Wild Kingdom’ on my street,” said Ebert.
Residents can contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for a list of available trappers, or to report a sighting.
Otherwise, police said if you ever encounter a coyote, protect yourself and your pets and deal with the consequences later.
"Don't initiate contact,” advised Theilen. “Don't act aggressively and I would definitely call the police department. They may not be able to trap the animal but at least they can be there to help protect you."
The sightings are happening mostly around Washington Park and the trend shows, they’re almost always at night.
The city said it might be because the food source outside the city is dwindling so they're pushing their hunt inwards.
Police want to remind you, if you spot a coyote, keep a distance and keep the pets inside.
Be sure to call IDNR to see if someone can come out to capture the wild animal.
If you fear for your safety, be sure to call the police.
Some city leaders said residents should start contacting their state lawmakers to find a better solution to this growing coyote problem.