N. Fulton woman watched coyote kill fawn; pet safety is a concern

Georgia DNR is encouraging hunters to kill coyotes.

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Georgia DNR is encouraging hunters to kill coyotes.

A few north Fulton County residents are blaming the disappearance of their pets on nearby preying coyotes.

One Milton resident said she saw a coyote in broad daylight, just off East Bluff Road.

And a few days ago, Carey Waters watched a coyote kill a fawn, right in her backyard. She’s concerned for small dogs and cats and will only walk her dog on a leash.

“There are a number of signs of missing cats on all of the stop signs out through here,” Waters, a Milton resident, told Channel 2 Action News on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, sometimes, coyotes will get those.”

An official with the state Department of Natural Resources told Channel 2 that the number of coyotes in metro Atlanta has “probably not” increased. DNR says pet owners should be careful at dawn and dusk, when coyotes are more active, and to make a lot of noise if they see one.

“It’s highly likely that coyotes could have taken (the pets), but it’s equally as likely for them to have been hit by a car,” Charlie Killmaster, a DNR wildlife biologist, told Channel 2. “It’s not uncommon that (coyotes) take some pets like that.”

Killmaster added that coyote attacks on people are extremely rare. He also said there is no closed season for coyotes, and can be hunted throughout the year.

If Waters saw a coyote attacking her dog, her first instinct would be to shoot it, she said.

But local ordinances may prohibit the discharge of firearms in many north Fulton cities. Shooting a coyote if it is attacking a person is legal, but shooting one for attacking a pet might not be.

DNR suggests that homeowners contact their municipality to determine whether they can legally shoot a coyote in their neighborhood.

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A local family with their kids watched as a coyote killed and ate a small deer in their backyard in Mableton.