Carmel responds to coyote complaints

Carmel residents are starting to notice coyote tracks in their neighborhood.

A neighborhood alert about coyotes prowling around suburban homes.

In fact, the threat has gotten to the point where police are now getting involved.

"When you look at these tracks that's what gets a little concerning because it's so close to the house," said Steve Martin as he pointed to animal tracks in the snow behind his home in Carmel's Smokey Ridge neighborhood.

Martin knew the tracks belong to a coyote, because he saw the animal that made them Thursday morning as he was having coffee with his wife in the kitchen.

"With the kids just getting on the school bus, it was very concerning when you look out and see a coyote not knowing what they're going to do," explained Martin.

"He was just kind of very casually, not running, but very slowly walking through our backyard," said Martin's wife, Kris of the coyote.

Nothing happened, but as parents and pet owners, the Martins said they're concerned.

"That's scary to know that my daughter's outside in the driveway and the coyote was walking through our neighborhood about the same time," said Kris Martin.

The Martins called their neighbors to alert them and then called Carmel police to report the coyote sighting.

They said they were told the city is tracking coyote sightings, but unless the animal was a direct threat, no officer would be coming out.

After several reports of missing pets and coyote sightings, Carmel's mayor has said the city's willing to hire trappers to relocate coyotes, if it comes to that.

"We continue to hear reports of dogs and cats being threatened or missing and we know that, like other suburban areas this winter, we have a problem with coyotes," Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said in a statement to the media. "We plan to respond to those concerns through both education and by securing professional trappers who can help us trap and humanely relocate the animals if possible."

For now, though, police are taking calls if residents feel threatened or concerned and will send out their community resource officer who would decide how to handle the situation, whether that involves trapping the animal, killing it, or hiring a trapper.

"Because someone sees a wild animal, doesn't necessarily mean that that wild animal is going to cause harm to anyone," said Carmel Police Lt. Joe Bickel.

"When does the alarm go off saying that they're going to come out," asked Steve Martin.

Kris Martin said she wished something would be done now.

"I don't want any kind of wild animal being in my neighborhood. We don't live in the country. We live in a suburb," said Martin.

With the winter being especially harsh this season, though, experts say coyotes are going to go where the food supply is, no matter where that happens to be.