Five coyotes have been fatally shot in South Jeffco by the state Department of Parks and Wildlife after a woman and her two dogs were attacked by a coyote in Clement Park on Feb. 10.
The attack occurred near Johnson Reservoir as the woman was walking her two small dogs along the trail.
Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said the woman was walking with her pets early that morning when she noticed a coyote on the reservoir ice.
The coyote, which was about 50 yards away, circled back and began following the woman, Churchill said. She picked up one of the dogs but was unable to grab the other before the coyote moved close.
The coyote lunged at both animals and tried to bite them. The woman kicked the coyote and eventually drove it away, Churchill said.
The woman and her dogs were uninjured.
“It came at this woman with her pets, and so our folks did go out and went through the area. We removed two coyotes north of Bowles (Avenue) and three south of Bowles,” Churchill said. “(The coyotes) were working in the area and in the vicinity of the park. They were utilizing the park for feeding and living, basically. The proximity of the incident to the park is why we chose to remove these coyotes.”
Churchill and Foothills Park and Recreation District Executive Director Ron Hopp said they were unaware of any similar instances at Clement Park involving coyotes in recent years. Churchill said the attack occurred during the coyotes’ mating season, which tends to make the animals more aggressive.
The coyote that attacked the woman had several missing teeth. Churchill said one of the coyotes killed also was missing several teeth.
“I think this woman did things perfectly right. If you see a coyote while you’re with small pets, you should pick your pets up, yell, throw a stick and stomp your feet,” Churchill said. “People need to help us draw this natural line between ourselves and wildlife.”
While some people may be reluctant to haze a coyote if they see it in a park or near backyards, Churchill said that helps coyotes in the metro area learn to fear humans and prevents encounters like the one at Clement Park.
“We have to instill that healthy, natural fear of people back into them — that’s going to make for a more successful coyote that can coexist with humans,” Churchill said.