Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle DeSpain was walking with her friend recently in their neighborhood at Desert Foothills Parkway and Frye Road when she said two coyotes “ganged up” on them.

A resident of Ahwatukee Foothills for 11 years, DeSpain said she would only see a coyote out and about near her home “once in a blue moon,” but now she said she is “seeing them on a weekly basis.”

“We’re really concerned about our safety and the safety of our pets,” she said. “It was around sunset and they were coming toward us. We were concerned that they were aggressive. They’re just too close for comfort.”

The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s (AZGFD) website states: “If you see a coyote near your home, don’t ignore it. This may cause it to lose its natural fear of people, which can eventually lead to aggressive behavior.”

Instead of ignoring it, they suggest that a person act aggressive toward it by doing things like “make loud noises, shout and bang pots and pans or rattle empty soda cans with pebbles in it (coyote shaker), wave your hands or objects like sticks and brooms, throw small stones or cans, or spray the coyote with a hose.”

If, however, this does not scare the coyote away, the AZGFD suggests making and keeping eye contact with the coyote, moving toward a more populated area, but, if that all fails, call them at (602) 942-3000. Although it is stated that “removal is usually a last resort.”

Because coyotes are considered a predator, there is a year-round hunting season on them, but a valid permit is required.

DeSpain said that she also spoke with another resident who, while trying to protect his dog from a coyote, was bitten. The AZGFD advises if that happens, “Anyone bitten by a coyote must immediately seek medical attention from a qualified health care provider. Whenever possible, the animal should be captured or killed and sent to a laboratory for rabies testing.”

To find out more, visit www.azgfd.gov/w_c/urban_coyote.shtml.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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