Greenwood council takes action against coyote attacks

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The danger of coyotes in Indiana suburbs is prompting new action in Greenwood.

The idea is to cut off coyotes' food supply, by asking residents to stop feeding stray animals, including stray dogs and cats. It's a proposed ordinance that if approved, would fine violators up to $250.

To protect family pets from a growing danger in Greenwood, the city has a new plan.

"If it keeps the coyotes out, it's a good idea," said pet owner and Greenwood resident John Sutton.

A proposed feeding ban on wildlife, even stray dogs and cats, is meant to discourage coyotes from coming into neighborhoods. Anyone caught feeding strays or caught leaving scraps out on the back porch would face a fine from $50-250.

Feeding ducks and geese would still be okay under the proposal.

"This was one of the things suggested by the Indiana Coyote Rescue Center that said that if we quit feeding stray animals, then it'll take care of having the coyotes around," said Greenwood City Councilman Bruce Armstrong.

Coyotes have caused serious problems in Greenwood. Family pets are the prime targets - some have disappeared.

Others, like Rex Saltsgaver's dog, Lexie, have died because of a coyote attack.

"You just never think that it's going to happen in a fenced in backyard in a suburb, where you just don't see wild animals," Saltsgaver told Eyewitness News.

"We've documented about seven or eight cases in the last two or three months," Armstrong said.

But the potential solution, a feeding ban in the city, isn't sitting well with everyone. Councilman Thom Hord fears it can't be enforced.

"There's no way to police it," Hord said. "You have to be at the right place at the exact right time to see if somebody's feeding something."

"I think that's going to be hard to enforce," Sutton said. "It's too easy to put something out your back door."

City councilmen are also getting feedback from residents who say they want to be able to take care of strays.

"I think seven-to-one, emails are in favor of being able to feed stray animals," Armstrong said.

But protecting family pets and keeping coyotes out of neighborhoods is the goal of this proposal.

The city council will vote on the measure at Monday night's meeting.