The village of New Boston in southern Ohio is getting some unwanted visitors, and local officials say that pets are no longer safe on the streets after a group of coyotes moved into the area. The situation has grown to the point where village administrator Steve Hamilton told reporters that it was no longer simply a nuisance, but a danger.

“Usually I get called out on dogs running wild and things like that,” Hamilton told the Portsmouth Daily Times. “I’ve had a couple over here that I’m taking care of on Ohio Avenue, but we’ve got coyotes that are coming over from the river and I’m taking care of that right now. I’ve got some people trapping.”

The coyotes are believed to have migrated from across the Ohio River and into local neighborhoods, where residents report attacks on cats and dogs. Scioto County, where New Boston is located, has one of the lowest coyote populations in the state. Bordering counties are a different story.

Coyotes are not native to Ohio, but the canine’s numbers have been growing steadily in the state over the past hundred years. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, coyotes can now be found in most of the state’s 88 counties and the population peaked in 2010. Whereas most wild animals will move away from human development, coyotes have instead embraced urban expansion and adapted to it. This could mean bad news for the residents of New Boston, who are now attempting to cull the predators with hunting and trapping.

“I’ve seen plenty of them, they are after our cats and dogs. That’s why we don’t have any rabbits anymore, they’ve eaten them all,” John Tewalt, who lives in a local apartment complex, told WOWK.

Coyotes are primarily a danger to small animals but have been known to attack larger prey as well. Predatory attacks from coyotes have been documented on children and adults, and the canines are more than capable of bringing down an adult deer or sheep. Earlier this month a herd of sheep in Massachusetts cunningly escaped becoming dinner by lying down in the middle of a road, but WCVB reports that those same sheep eventually fell prey to a group of coyotes just days later. While coyotes are not the strongest or largest of predators, they can be persistent.

New Boston officials warn residents to keep a close eye on pets and children while any injured or captured coyotes can be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will be euthanized.

Image from ForestWander on the Wikimedia Commons

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