Yes, there are coyotes in Cherokee Park. There have been since the 1970s.
No, the city is not putting out the poison that has killed a local dog.
Rumors of a dog being poisoned to death by something it ate in Cherokee Park have not been substantiated. But putting out poison on public land is against the law, and Metro Parks said it would never engage in such an activity.
That’s the message being put out by local and state agencies after a since-deleted Facebook post by Chenoweth Animal Hospital stirred concern. The post read:
Hi everyone! We just wanted to send out a warning for anyone who takes their dogs to Cherokee Park. Several coyotes have been spotted in the area and someone (someone else, not an employee or animal services) decided to put down poison to get rid of them. The poison has been accidentally ingested by at least one person’s dog that we know of. If you are at the park please keep a close eye on your pups and if they eat anything please bring them in ASAP for treatment.
The animal hospital later posted that they were just passing along information from a client and didn’t have any more information.
Louisville Metro Animal Services Public Information Supervisor Erica Coghill assured Insider that there had been no reports of poisoned dogs but that LMAS would be sending out investigators to the park to search for poison. She said that she didn’t have high hopes for them finding anything considering the vastness of Cherokee Park.
Mark Marraccini, the information officer for Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, said there had been efforts to eradicate coyotes throughout U.S. history to no avail. “Now they’re all over. They’re more of them than ever,” he told Insider.
In the spring, coyotes may be bolder because they’ve often just had a litter of pups.
Marraccini described coyotes as “secretive and elusive.” He said that they don’t like people.
Any illegal poison baits left for coyote are at risk of poisoning any canine. A poisoned coyote is at risk of poisoning any animal who feeds on the carcass, Marraccini said.
Coyotes are state protected but “every year there are violations,” he said.
The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Department offers these tips for peaceful coexistence with coyotes:
- Never feed a coyote. Don’t leave pet food outside.
- Make sure your trash can lids are secure.
- Do not leave small pets unattended outside.
- Keep pets on a six-foot or shorter leash when walking in parks.
- If you encounter a coyote while walking a small pet, pick your pet up and carry it until the coyote has left.
- Coyotes generally flee at the sight of a human. If it doesn’t, make a ton of noise and move toward the coyote.
- Never run away from a coyote.