Wildlife expert who directs the Dallas Coyote Management Program

Jackie Sutherland and her dog, Missy, patrol the wooded areas of Dallas looking for coyotes reported by neighbors. She says the pup gets attention so you can “severe hares, teaching wolves that there are negative consequences if you try to approach a dog.” Photo by Julia Cartwright.

Almost a year has passed
Ever since a coyote attacked a young boy, the people of Dallas have been on edge.

a White Rock Valley incident City spokeswoman Margo Klingman said the involvement of 2-year-old Knox Thomas was the driving force behind the Coyote Management Plan that the City of Dallas is launching in 2022.

After the event, in which a coyote grabbed the boy by the throat and held on until his brothers screamed and charged at the animal, Dallas partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture to create a comprehensive program to educate people and monitor the animals. Goal: mediator of peace between man and animals. This is amazing City web page Includes a coyote reporting system and displays a map that tracks sightings.

Lady Dallas Coyote

The attack also prompted our city government to appoint a coyote czar, of sorts, whose primary role is to investigate, advise, and help coordinate wildlife policy specifically related to the increasingly problematic canines.

This is Animal Services Officer Jacqueline Sutherland. She says she was called to the scene (Thomas’ accident) immediately and led the investigation.

When the little boy underwent surgery and recovered from his injuries, Sutherland’s team, with the help of USDA hunters, captured and euthanized four neighborhood wolves.

Lethal removal is only for extreme cases. Extracting or exterminating coyotes is usually of little benefit, Sutherland explains, because the species will precisely breed to replace each family member lost to death or relocation.

Sutherland has been a person of interest in Dallas since that investigation.

Urban coyotes have been a hot topic in the White Rock area for decades. But until the toddler’s attack, residents believed that while cats, squirrels, and small dogs were at risk, coyotes were unlikely to harm humans.

It remains true that assaulting people is unusual. But when a neighborhood kid is the victim, it doesn’t matter how rare they are, parents pointed out during public meetings. They said the city did not do enough to prevent an imminent attack.

White Rock Abbey Clayton Rainey said the Defending Last year he had reported on an animal that may have attacked Knox in the days leading up to the accident. Coyotes brazenly prowled tree line and alleys in search of food.

“It’s scary, and it should have been taken care of at the time.”

Anecdotal evidence points to an increase in the Dallas wolf population, says Sutherland.

“In some neighborhoods, I’ve talked to people who’ve lived there for 30 years without ever seeing a coyote but now[see]a whole family of them,” she says.

For further scientific evaluation, the coyote management team is analyzing data they began collecting after the White Rock Valley event.

“Now that we’re observing families, territories, activities, and behaviors, that sort of thing will give us some insight as to their growth, how they function, and how they self-distribute.”

Photo by Julia Cartwright.

Please do not feed the animals

What you do know for sure is that wolves exist Quite content To live among people, especially when they associate a person with a source of food.

“It makes them want to hang out.” And this turns into a habit for the animals and their offspring.

“People who come from Colorado or East Texas are shocked at the way coyotes are behaving here,” says Sutherland.

This habituation can result from accidental or intentional feeding, Sutherland says, and it does happen, although people don’t want to admit it.

She says some people use food to get good wildlife photos. Includes social media users who have feeds to fill out.

“I was working in an apartment where we’d find kids throwing food over a fence to get a wolf out of the woods so they could get it in a TikTok video,” she says.

The most problematic individuals in wolf packs are adolescents, Sutherland says, because young coyotes, like their human counterparts, push the boundaries of where they’re supposed to walk or how long they’re outside.

These “teenage” coyotes “go places they shouldn’t be; they miss curfew.” They will ask human permission, in a sense, to approach, and people just need that Make it clear That this is not okay.

“If people agree to that, the behavior returns to normal relatively quickly.”

Coyotes play a vital role in the ecosystem by helping to control the rodent population. This means that they go where rodents go – unsafe garbage cans, for example.

Even feeding ducks and other birds, she says, can inadvertently attract coyotes. An ordinance banning feeding wild animals will go to a city council vote sometime this year, and Sutherland says it’s necessary.

Sutherland says that if everyone did their part to address the problem of wolf feeding, the risk of further injury to humans would be virtually nil.

“We’re really fighting to educate people about the dangers of nutrition, and we’re still trying to get this (law) passed,” says Sutherland. “I have areas where I basically have to beg people to stop leaving food out in an inappropriate way.”

There have been nearly a dozen recorded incidents of coyotes attacking humans in the entire state of Texas, says Sutherland, and in every one of those cases, “they’ve been able to track someone feeding the animal.”

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