CHARLESTON (AP) - A West Virginia wildlife official says little can be done to control coyotes that have taken up residence in urban areas.
Curtis Taylor, the Division of Natural Resources wildlife chief, says the critters are here to stay, so residents will have to learn to live with them.
"There's been millions poured into coyote control out west - it doesn't work," Taylor said. "If you start killing a lot of them, they just increase their reproductive rate."
Residents should avoid the animals and keep pets inside from dusk to dawn, when coyotes are most active, he said.
"If you've got an outside cat, that's asking for trouble," he said. "Leaving your cat out at night, that's a risky thing. The best thing to do is don't leave your dog or cat out at night."
Debbie Cobb of Charleston cares for a colony of feral cats in her neighborhood. She said that two have been killed in recent weeks, and she suspects coyotes are the culprits. Neighbors have seen coyotes on their property, or their pets have gone missing.
"We're just getting overpopulated with them," she said. "They're getting pretty brave."
Charleston humane officer Thaddeous Boggess said that he does not receive many calls about coyotes. But he hears about them in passing.
"When I'm out on routine calls, I have people stop me and tell me they have coyotes," he said.
Marty Majors of Charleston said she is concerned about children in her neighborhood.
Taylor said that residents can take steps to avoid conflicts with coyotes.
"Don't leave food outside on your deck or porch," he said. "We really caution people about doing that. Same thing with trash."
"If you don't want wildlife around, remove the food source," he said. "You don't know what's in your yard at night."
If someone comes into contact with a coyote, they should make eye contact and give it space, he said.
He said that the district DNR office should be contacted if a coyote appears to be sick or aggressive.