The city of Wauwatosa adopted a coyote management plan Tuesday that identifies response strategies if coyote encounters become dangerous again.
With two dissenting votes, the Wauwatosa Common Council adopted a policy that would encourage residents to fill out an incident report, which would be accessed on the city's website, wauwatosa.net.
Aldermen Jason Wilke and Craig Wilson voted against the plan. Some elected officials raised concerns about dealing with nuisance coyote behavior.
The incident reports would require citizens to fill out the time, date and location of the coyote encounter as well as the type of interaction — ranging from hearing a coyote howl to an attack on humans.
The policy also outlined a sequence of suggested actions in response to varying degrees of coyote interactions. A level one response would require the city to provide educational materials about coyotes while a level five response would dispatch emergency services if a human were to be attacked, including the possible lethal trapping of the problematic coyote.
"It should be noted that the city of Wauwatosa Police Department will respond to any emergency calls involving coyote interactions resulting in injuries to a human," the policy said.
However, it is not the policy's intention to carry out a coyote culling program.
Alderwoman Cheryl Berdan said a city committee took cues from the city of Mequon when drafting the plan.
"We're all partners together, we all need to have a level of response," she said. "We need to protect our citizens and our employees."
Wauwatosa has been on higher alert following a number of coyote sightings and attacks on pets in late 2015. Two small dogs were killed by coyotes in September and a third was found dead of a suspected coyote attack.
Coyote management has been an ongoing topic of discussion at the city level in Wauwatosa; city leaders began discussions on establishing a coyote management plan in December.
A public meeting was held at the Underwood Elementary School gymnasium in October to discuss ways to deter future attacks. An estimated 300 people attended the meeting, which was hosted by elected officials and the DNR.
About the policy
In addition to a city response plan to coyote interactions, the adopted policy outlines the behavioral tendencies — including food habits, general biology and reproduction — of coyotes. It also identifies coyote hazing techniques.
According to the policy, it is possible that certain human behaviors have contributed to the rise of habituated coyotes in suburban areas, including environment modifications.
"Through the course of its evolution as a community, the city of Wauwatosa has encouraged a living environment that incorporates open space, wildlife corridors, parks, greenbelts and other habitat features that attract and support wildlife," the policy stated. "In Wauwatosa, our proximity to the Milwaukee County Parkways accompanied by the proud history of preserving makes Wauwatosa a favorable home for coyotes as well as many other types of wildlife."
A review of the plan is scheduled in six months.
A broader effort
In conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology's Urban Canid Project and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Milwaukee County launched a tag and track program in January to document coyote sightings.
Wauwatosa has been anything but immune to coyote sightings, in addition to the dog attacks. Some residents have resorted to walking in groups and carrying large sticks to fend off the animals.
Through the website inaturalist.org, area residents have been asked to report the details of coyote sightings. Those who use the program answer a number of questions about the encounter, including what time the animal was seen, how close the animal was and whether or not it had ear tags.
The initiative, which has so far documented about 140 sightings in the greater Milwaukee area, is scheduled to run through the end of the month in both Wauwatosa and West Allis.