North Carolina creates new plan to manage population of coyotes after spike in attacks

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- North Carolina has created a new plan to manage the population of coyotes across the state.

Many FOX8 viewers have shared stories of coyote sighting and attacks in their neighborhood since we first told you about a coyote that attacked a 9-year-old girl in Davie County last week.

Becky Klass' cats live inside her Lexington home now.

“I’ve lost six cats," she said. "In fact, our whole neighborhood has lost 22 cats and a Yorkie.”

She says coyotes are the culprits and the problem only started for Klass within the last five years.

“You know, for 14, 15 years, I never had any problems, and now they’re everywhere," she said.

Officials with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission say coyote attacks on people and pets are pretty rare -- especially when the attacks are unprovoked.

But they do say they're seeing a spike across the state.

The North Carolina General Assembly asked the wildlife commission to look at the impacts and threats coyotes have on people, pets, livestock and other wildlife.

"I have people come in here constantly talking about getting their goats, getting their calves," Klass said.

A new report released this month outlines ways to manage the coyote population. It focuses on educating people about the animals, ways to avoid coyote encounters altogether and handle them properly, and encourages legal hunting and trapping.

Right now, you can hunt coyotes in certain areas, like on your private property, year-round, but trapping is only allowed statewide during certain months. Some Piedmont counties have local laws that allow trapping year-round, including Davidson, Yadkin, Stokes, Surry and Rockingham counties.

Some people don't think these measures go far enough.

“Instead of spending all those months coming up with ‘trying to educate us,'" Klass said. "We know all of that. They need to get a plan in place to get rid of the coyotes. They need to step up to the bat.”

Some areas, like Nags Head on the Outer Banks, have already taken matters into their own hands. The town hired a trapper to remove coyotes. He's gotten rid of 17 since December.

Klass wants to see local governments step in to fix the problem. Hiring a trapper on her own would cost more than $3,500.

“We don’t really feel like we should have to pay for it," she said.

She thinks coyotes are more than just a nuisance; she called them downright dangerous.

“They need to be dead, because they’re just going to multiply and multiply, and I hate to say that about an animal, but it’s an animal that’s attacking a child now," Klass said.

Before you go to trap or hunt a coyote, even on your own property, check your local laws about hunting. Most cities like Lexington do not allow you to discharge a firearm in the city limits, so trapping may be your only option.

You can read the state's full Coyote Management Plan by clicking here.