Coyotes sighted in Forest Park

FOREST PARK — Coyotes have been spotted in Forest Park but they do not run a risk to humans, said City Manager Frank Brandon.

However, residents with small outdoor pets need to be cautious.

“They dearly love cats and small dogs,” Brandon said. “But not children — that’s only in Australia and that didn’t happen.”

Brandon was referring to a 1980 incident involving the death of a baby in Australia where the mother claimed it was taken and killed by a dingo.

Brandon said Planning and Zoning Director Al Wiggins is overseeing the setting of humane traps to catch the coyotes.

“We think they are coming from Fort Gillem,” he said. “They’ve been seen at First Baptist, West Avenue, North Avenue, Burks Road.”

Brandon said, all dingo jokes aside, the presence of coyotes near homes should be taken seriously.

“If you corner one, they will bite you,” he said.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, coyotes almost never attack humans. The organization’s website states there has been only one recorded incident involving a fatal coyote attack in the United States and that was in southern California in the 1980s.

“In many human attack incidents, it turns out that the offending coyote was being fed by people,” according to the website. “In many other instances, people were bitten while trying to rescue their free-roaming pet from a coyote attack. Less often, people are bitten by cornered coyotes, or even more rarely, rabid coyotes.”

The coyote alert is available on the city’s website at forestparkga.org. According to the alert, residents are advised to secure trash, ensure rabies vaccinations are current for pets, refrain from placing pet food outside in open containers and keep small pets indoors while unattended.

City officials said residents should call 911 if a coyote approaches, wave around hands and make as much noise as possible. Residents should not run but maintain eye contact with the coyote and back slowly away.

Coyote sightings can be made to Forest Park Animal Control Division at 404-608-2300.