RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond City officials held a community meeting Wednesday night to address growing concerns about coyotes in the area.
James River Park officials say they have spotted coyotes on camera for nearly two years on both the south side of the river and along the North Bank trail.
Recent sightings of coyotes in Richmond also have residents concerned about the safety of their pets.
While officials say the threat of a coyote attacking pets is a valid concern, it’s rarer than one might think.
Officials say the best way to protect your pets is to keep coyotes from wanting to come to your property.
You can do that by removing all food sources from your yard, like bringing in pet food and clearing any fallen fruits.
They also said its best to keep your pets on a leash and keep an eye on them when letting them roam in your yard.
Some residents at Wednesday’s meeting suggested hunting and trapping the coyotes to solve the problem, but experts say in general that strategy isn’t helpful. It’s especially not ideal inside the city limits.
“Foothold traps are commonly used for coyotes and they are generally not a good idea in an urban environment because of the presence of domestic animals,” said Wildlife Research Biologist Mike Fies.
In the state of Virginia there is an open season on hunting and trapping coyotes, but local ordinances inside the city banning hunting supersede that policy.
Officials say it’s best to learn how to live with them than to be afraid of them,