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Whitefish Bay —  Two dogs have been killed by coyotes in Whitefish Bay in the past three months, prompting Whitefish Bay police to contract with a trapping firm.

The first dog, a Chihuahua, was killed by two large coyotes in the front yard of a home in the 4700 block of Woodruff Avenue at about 8:45 p.m. Oct. 22. The house is located about four blocks east of the Milwaukee River, which is a natural environment for coyotes.

The second dog was killed by two coyotes at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11, at Circle and Lake drives. The dog was out loose in the front yard while the owner was shoveling his driveway. When he couldn't find his pet, he walked over to the other side of the car to find the dog had been attacked by two coyotes, which he saw run westward. The dog died from its injuries. Like the Chihuahua, the dog weighed only about 4 or 5 pounds.

The trapping firm, Advanced Wildlife Management, has 40 years of experience trapping coyotes in the area and has been previously contracted by Whitefish Bay residents to trap coyotes. The trapper hasn't yet set out traps due to the cold weather and scheduling conflicts, but the trapper and police department are in the process of identifying snare trap locations that would not risk injuring local dogs. If a dog manages to get trapped, it would not be killed. State law does not allow coyotes to be relocated to public land, and because private property owners would likely not want the coyotes, they would likely be killed.

Nearby natural environments such as Estabrook Park, the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan have long attracted wildlife such as coyotes. In Glendale, aldermen recently formed a coyote committee following the death of a cockapoo and numerous other coyote sightings across the city.

To safeguard local pets, residents are encouraged to keep all pets on a leash no longer than 10 feet, to not leave small dogs unattended and to keep cats indoors. No humans have been attacked by a coyote in Wisconsin, according to police.

If you see a coyote in your neighborhood, call the Whitefish Bay Police Department's non-emergency number, 414-351-9900, to tell the dispatcher about the location of the coyote. Residents are also encouraged to haze, or scare, coyotes by yelling at them, making loud noises, banging pots and pans, waving arms, throwing small objects or spraying it with a hose until it runs away.

Homeowners can prevent coyotes from entering their yard by spraying wolf urine, securing the lids of garbage cans and compost bins and limiting sources of water such as bird baths.

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