Plan to kill coyotes in Wheaton stirs debate

February 17, 2010 4:32:11 AM PST
There was mixed reaction in Wheaton Tuesday night to a plan to trap and kill some coyotes.Recently, some pets in the area have been attacked, and there is fear children could be next.

"Since October, coyotes are in my backyard every single day. They're in my neighbor's yard. They are all over the place," said Annette Corrigan.

Coyotes in suburban Chicago is nothing new but many in west suburban Wheaton say since last fall it seems like the coyote population there has exploded.

Wheaton City Council has already taken action voting to hire a licensed trapper to capture and euthanize coyotes. That prompted many opponents of the plan to show up at Tuesday night's City Council meeting. They argued that not one coyotes has ever attacked a human in the suburb.

"I, for one, ask you to use my tax dollars for humane methods of animal control," said Gloria DeLouko.

Not only have they grown in number but supporters of 'culling' or reducing their numbers say coyotes in Wheaton have become much bolder. Just last month a coyote attacked Brian Graff's 11-year-old West Highland Terrier.

"Although the death of my dog was tragic, we need to learn from it. Coyotes are a serious problem and need to be dealt with. Are we going to wait until a human is attacked in the area? That is a risk not worth taking," said Graff.

Nearly all members of Wheaton City Council voted for the trapping plan. Wheaton's mayor told residents Tuesday night that other suburbs including Glen Ellyn have been using trappers for a while without all the media attention.

"While I realize this is a very emotional issue, this is the way we handle all of our issues. We talk about it," said Mayor Michael Gresk of Wheaton.

Councilman John Prendiville urged his fellow council members to reconsider the program Tuesday night. But they did not. They've taken bids from four trappers so far. But with a budget of less than $10,000, the controversial program isn't big.