Meck Co. leaders want to know how bad coyote problem is

Published: Feb. 7, 2012 at 10:17 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 8, 2012 at 10:25 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Just how bad is the coyote population in Charlotte Mecklenburg? That's what Mecklenburg County commissioners want to know.

The board heard from the county's parks and recreation department about the coyote population.

Chris Matthews, a spokesperson for the department told commissioners they don't know how many coyotes are in Mecklenburg County.

They asked for more time and resources to study the increase in coyotes and to determine the extent of the problem.

Commissioner Bill James even expressed interest in giving the department money to use a GPS collar tagging system to study the coyotes.

But coyotes have been a growing problem in Mecklenburg for years.

WBTV has covered the complaints and fears from neighbors extensively.

Take Anthony Berusa, for example, who recalls when he first saw a coyote near his home.

Standing at his kitchen window, overlooking his isolated back yard, Berusa says "I was in here cooking Sunday dinner and I saw it go right along the fence line."

"Just a beautiful animal" he says, "but I knew it was dangerous."

And it actually took up residence in his back yard.

"You can see where it's been laying," Berusa says, pointing to a kind of den dug into the underbrush. There's a creek right here where it can get water. And I spotted it running around the yard a couple of times."

Unlike a lot of people, Berusa has a healthy respect for coyotes.

"It's Silvery, gray white with black eyes," he says. "Very beautiful."

Berusa says he hasn't seen the coyote since.  Others, however, want more assurance.

The coyote population in Charlotte has spiked, and they've attacked and killed a number of little dogs in the area.

Mecklenburg County have launched a new website is helping them to collect information.

It asks residents to report anytime they see a coyote. In the ten days since the website launch, there have been 165 reported sightings of coyotes.

Currently, the state allows coyote hundting Monday to Saturday with a firearm.

But now, state wildlife officials say they may allow coyote hunting on Sunday nights too, but only with bow and arrows.

However, no Charlotte resident could go coyote hunting because of the weapons ordinance that makes it illegal to use on in the city limits.

Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.