Several Marion citizens are noticing new neighbors in town. Several coyotes are venturing into town for an easy meal. These sightings along Roosevelt and Freeborn Sts. are coinciding with cat disappearances around town.
Melissa Kruse said she went into her garage in the 300 block of Roosevelt Street one day to find a coyote standing inside.
“I walked out into my garage to water my rabbit and cats and he was standing in the middle of the garage, not scared at all,” she said.
Kruse said it looked sick and was missing patches of fur.
“He stood there staring at me,” she said. “Then he made a wide circle around me and just sort of trotted out of the garage, not in any hurry.”
Kruse found this coyote in her garage last year, but she has recently seen coyotes in her back yard and the alley behind her house in the evenings.
“I used to leave cat food out in the garage for my cats but quit doing that,” she said. “I think it was attracting the coyotes, not to mention I’m sure my rabbit and cats attracted them too.”
Kruse said she has had several cats go missing and that several neighbors have, too. She thinks the coyotes are behind the cat disappearances.
“My neighbor, Travis Radtke, who gets up to go to work early has told me he has seen them in the yards around that time,” Kruse said.
Kruse said she has not seen the coyotes for a couple of days, but she has definitely heard them.
“They are so loud, they sound not very far,” she said.
Veterinarians at Spur Ridge Vet Hospital and Marion Animal Health Center say they have not treated any animals with coyote attacks.
Game warden Marvin Peterson said it’s actually common for coyotes to be found inside town.
“Usually people just don’t see them,” he said. “They’re opportunistic animals. If they live close to a town, they’re going to get brave and venture in looking for an easy meal.”
The rise in population has made coyotes venture into more places looking for food, Peterson said.
“They’re scavengers,” he said. “They will go any place they think they can get a free meal. They come into town where it’s easy to find one.”
Peterson warns people to not leave dog or cat food out, and to put trash in lidded bins. He said they can get cats and other small animals if given the chance.
“Cats are not their usual food source,” he said. “It’s a risk cat owners take if they’re going to let them run around outside. People should know that they don’t come to town especially for the cats, they mostly come for the trash.”
Because coyotes are opportunistic, they will not put out the effort to hunt cats most of the time, according to Peterson.
“This isn’t something people should be alarmed about,” Peterson said. “Humans are not on coyotes’ dinner menu. More often than not they are much more scared of you then you are of them.”
According to Peterson, if face-to-face with a coyote just let it walk away. Peterson said if the problem gets too out of hand, coyotes can be trapped and removed from the area.
“Last year Hillsboro was having a problem with a large number of coyotes coming into town,” he said. “A trapper came and solved the problem. There’s no open season on coyotes, anyone with a hunting license can hunt them, but that would be a drastic measure.”
Peterson said he has had a few reports of coyotes within Marion city limits, but not enough to be considered a problem.