SALEM, Ohio (WYTV) – Coyote sightings are on the rise in Salem.
Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott has been flooded with calls about coyote sightings within city limits. The most recent call came in on Tuesday when a person spotted a coyote sleeping on the tennis courts in Waterworth Memorial Park.
Linda Mellish comes to the park several times a day with her dog Spuds.
“I have seen it several times with people around it, walking around the tennis court. I holler at them. I have stated ‘you know, it’ over there, please be careful,” Mellish said.
Mellish said she hopes the park will put up signs to warn visitors.
Chief Panezott noted that coyotes are fairly common in the state of Ohio and it is the increase in their overall population that has led to more sightings. At this point, there have been no local attacks, but there are several precautions that he recommends.
“People should have their dogs and cats where they are supposed to be. Cats are a favorite snack of coyotes and they are not supposed to be running at large anyhow,” he said.
Panezott also suggests keeping garbage and food picked up to prevent attracting the animals.
“Right now, as far as seeing a coyote, there is nothing we can do other than make sure it is not sick or that it is not going to hurt someone,” he said.
If anyone sees a coyote that is sick or acting aggressive, they should call police.
Panezott has reached out to the Columbiana County game warden for advice on the wild animals. He also wants to remind people that it is illegal to shoot coyotes within city limits.