SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio - Concerns over aggressive coyotes, after multiple pets have been attacked or killed, has now led to an investigation by lawmakers with wildlife experts.
Monday night a 12-year-old Shiba Inu was nearly killed while in the backyard of her Macedonia home near Highland Road by two coyotes.
The dog’s owner, who didn’t want to be identified, told Fox 8 News that “Misty” was on a leash when one coyote lunged at her throat, and another stood nearby. The owner says Misty fought back and she began screaming wildly to scare the coyotes away, and eventually they ran off.
Misty had to get stitches and will recover, but other pet owners haven’t been so fortunate.
A few weeks ago, a 14-year-old Yorkie mix named “Romeo” was taken by coyotes from his Macedonia home while standing just feet from his owner on their patio.
For Myron Gutowski the loss hit close to home. Romeo was his daughters pet and the second dog the family lost to coyotes. A few years back his 6-year-old pup named “Bee Bee” was snatched by coyotes from his property in Twinsburg Township.
“They’re not afraid of humans not in this area anyway,” said Gutowski.
Myron loves animals but now carries a gun when he goes outside with his other three dogs and recently had to use it as coyotes threatened those pups.
He says he and his neighbors on Ravenna Road have seen anywhere from 3 to 10 coyotes at a time; sometimes snarling and surrounding people and not just their dogs.
Myron reached out to the Summit County Executive and Summit County Council members, and Monday during a council meeting learned that they would be investigating the situation with the coyotes.
Nick Kostandaras, County Councilman in District 1 said they would, “explore whatever possibilities are legally available in regards to the coyote issue and the protection of people of Summit County."
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife told Fox 8 they have experts specifically trained to help communities handle dangerous wild animals.
Wildlife Management Supervisor Scott Peters was surprised to hear coyotes were attacking dogs on leashes.
He says, coyotes generally stay away from humans unless challenged or when they are protecting their young. Although this time of year they might be more aggressive.
“As you get into winter food sources become more limited and you’ve got breeding season going on at the same time,” said Peters.
Peters says it is extremely important that people try to scare off coyotes from the very first time they appear on their property; even if they seem very far away.
If a person doesn’t he says, the animals will continue to move in closer and become desensitized to people.
“Just like deer,” said Peters, “Coyotes are the same and we need to reinforce that fear, bang pans, yell, let them know to fear us.”
Myron suggests never letting your guard down, because he says in the blink of an eye your pet could be gone.
“It’s not an isolated case, it’s an everyday case and coyotes will snag your dog within 10 feet of you,” said Myron.