Coyote Wanders Dangerously Close To People

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 13, 2012

What’s a gun-totin’ girl to do when face-to-face with a coyote?
Michele Collins, 50, of Wallburg thought the mangy-haired, drunk-acting critter was probably rabid to boot as it wandered on consecutive days within spitting distance of a house under construction in the Stonebluff development of Clemmons near the Davidson County line.
Spitting distance? Well, within 10 to 15 feet of the building crew, which just happened to include her boyfriend; thus her concern.
“Something needs to be done before it bites a small child or attacks another animal,” she said.
Wild animal sightings seem to be more common these days, particularly as coyotes gain a foothold and houses are built in old woodlands. Coyotes seem to have an appetite for small pets, especially slow-footed, aging cats. Patsy Crenshaw in Mocksville reported foxes close to her home last week. Woods nearby have been cleared, upsetting habitat.
Ms. Collins did what any responsible person would do: Call the authorities. Thus began her trip on the bureaucratic run-around.
The Forsyth County Animal Control told her they don’t deal with wild animals and referred her to the N.C. Wildlife Commission. The wildlife spokeswoman told her to just avoid the animal, adding that if the coyote is rabid it will probably die soon anyway, and the agency just … isn’t coming out.
“That girl didn’t have the sense to get in out of the rain,” Ms. Collins assessed.
So she called the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department and volunteered to shoot the animal herself.
Well … there’s an ordinance prohibiting shooting firearms within 300 feet of another dwelling. There are plenty of other dwellings nearby, some occupied by Winston-Salem policemen and a retired deputy. They couldn’t rightly ignore a law-breaker, could they?
“I’ve got a gun and I know how to use it, but I don’t want to go to jail,” she said.
She was then referred to a commercial pest control company which offered to set traps for a $95 consultation and daily fee after that until the animal is caught.
She didn’t want to pay that, especially since a quick, cheap rifle shot would have solved the problem easily enough.
“It seems like an awful travesty — I can carry arms but I can’t shoot it.”
What good is the Second Amendment if you can’t shoot a coyote?
 “I am so frustrated,” she said.
Meanwhile, the coyote was dangerously close to the men working on the house.
“Somebody or something is going to be bit, and they are …