am i sleeping with coyotes too?????

Committee to examine coyote issues in W. Valley

Brent Whiting The Arizona Republic Feb. 6, 2006 12:00 AM

SUN CITY WEST - Three coyotes were put to death after being trapped late last month in Sun City West, an outcome that angered some residents.

The animal saga marks the latest chapter in the sometimes deadly clash between desert critters and urban dwellers.

"Coyotes are very beautiful animals," said Beverly Malcolm, one resident. "This never should have happened."

However, other residents say that from Sept. 23 through Jan. 10, there were repeated instances of coyote packs getting aggressive with humans, especially near the Grandview Golf Course along Grand Avenue south of Meeker Boulevard.

The issue sparked Recreation Centers of Sun City, the golf course operator, to establish a nine-member task force that has set out to examine coyote issues in the community.

Members include Malcolm, a coyote advocate, and Ann Bell, who said she is worried about what can happen when coyotes start to act aggressively.

"I've seen them traveling in packs, and I'm worried about my two little dogs," Bell said.

Randy Babb, a biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, described the three coyote deaths as "distasteful."

"Some folks were really upset about the removal of these coyotes," Babb said. "Others thought they were part of a pack causing lots of problems."

Little else could be done because people had been feeding the animals, Babb said. Coyotes that get fed lose their natural fear of humans.

Babb said the three coyotes couldn't be released into the wild because they would just return to a human setting.

"When people feed these animals, they become a problem, even a nuisance," he said. "Then we are called to clean up the mess, something that we really dislike having to do."

Coyotes are here to stay, so people must learn how to get along with them, Babb added.

The three animals were trapped on private property near the golf course, the home of an 85-year-old woman who had made repeated complaints about the animals, officials said.

Attacks are few compared with the frequent coyote sightings in the Valley, said Joe Yarchin, a Game and Fish Department wildlife specialist.

In Sun City West, the bed of the Agua Fria River, as well as the community's golf courses, serve as wildlife corridors as coyotes forage for rabbits and other game, Yarchin said.

Humans get upset when coyotes also feed on smaller dogs and cats, he added.

This story may have appeared in your community section or community Republic.

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