Sandy Springs: What's that raiding the trash?

To the coyotes who call Sandy Springs home:

You've been garnering a lot of attention lately, none of it eulogistic. That wouldn't be an issue if you were a Kardashian, but you’re a canis latrans and tabloid TV doesn't care about you. And this town ain't big enough for the two of us.

Earlier this year I heard you harmonizing somewhere in our neighborhood. That would have been mighty fine had I been sitting around a campfire on the prairie playing cowboys songs on a harmonica. But when you are in concert a standup double from my back door, well, we need to talk.

The crux of this is there doesn't seem to be a way we can coexist in peace. Not to point fingers but you’re not known for leaving us alone if we leave you alone. And you can get rather snarky. Under cover of night, for example, you raid our trash cans without cleaning up after yourselves.

I suppose you could make the case that we humans need to do our part to make our little bit o’ Heaven less inviting. Things like keeping our trash cans secured, closing the doors on dumpsters – not to mention observing leash laws.

Now and again I've seen small dogs and house cats in our neighborhood enjoying some unsupervised time outside. While that violates the law, it seems there is also a difference of what each of us is looking at. I see Mr. Fluffles lolling in the sunshine relishing a little down time. You see lunch. I trust you understand why we humans work ourselves into a high dudgeon over this.

A factor that clouds the issue is a vast majority of the neighborhoods in Sandy Springs were built in a time when developers weren't hell-bent on shaving the land clean to see how many homes they could fit into a subdivision. As such there are plenty of mature wooded areas for you and the family to call home.

And here’s where I, for one, would have no problem with you. As long as your diet consisted of rats, squirrels, rabbits, possums and other feral victuals I’d be willing to live and let live. But as I've already mentioned there’s the trash thing and the pet thing. I've also heard that for every coyote that is spotted there are between two and four not seen, which means your numbers likely exceed our estimates.

That doesn't factor in the issue that many of your kin have been known to carry rabies, a fact you can’t spin to save your life. Even if the folks at Pixar created a movie about a rabid but heroic coyote it wouldn't help your cause.

The most cool-headed solution is to set some traps and relocate you -- far away. I’m all in on this because you don’t get hurt and I don’t have to worry that crazy neighbor Jody is going to get whipped into a frenzy at his NRA meeting and come home to try and thin your ranks with his pearl-handled .357 Magnums.

Yes, this is your planet, too. And that a point is actually shared by some of my fellow Sandy Springsteens. Some are not even happy at the prospect of relocation but they are a bit silent on the subject of what to do instead.

At the end of the day I think we’re going to play the top-of-the-food-chain card and send you packing. Lacking consensus on either side we’ll just call it the least-worst explication. And it will keep things from becoming; you should pardon the expression, coyote ugly.

Jim Osterman has lived in Sandy Springs since 1962. He can be reached at