Animal control says a pack of five coyotes are wandering around the east side of St. Paul. They won't say they're a threat to people's safety as coyotes are usually afraid of humans, but they're asking people to be a part of a strategy called 'hazing' to get them out.
"I seen him coming, he stopped,,d and then he seen me and then he took off," St. Paul resident Mark Hennen said of an up-close and personal encounter last summer with a coyote.
That coyote got away, but Hennen and his wife were more surprised to see it in their busy St. Paul neighborhood.
"We have small children around, we have animals around," wife Elizabeth Hennen said.
Fortunately, no one got hurt that day, and while coyotes in the city are a rare sighting, it's becoming more common.
St. Paul Animal Control officer Bill Stephenson says there's a spike in coyote sightings in the city; 20 in last couple weeks, and about 150 sightings within the last five years. Stephenson says they're becoming more bold this time of year because it's birthing season.
"Right now, on the east side, there's a train over there, it's perfect for them. There's habitat, there's protection, there's food sources, " Stephenson said.
Coyotes usually live in the wild, but Stephenson says as more homes go up and the Twin Cities expands, coyotes and humans begin to share a similar habitat.
"There are probably a few coyotes then asking the same question, ‘What are these people doing here on my forest?' So, we've infringed," Stephenson said.
In order to coexist, St. Paul Animal Control is urging people not to shoot or trap these coyotes if you spot them. Instead, scare them away with loud noises, such as banging on a garbage can to frighten them away.
They're urging neighbors to bang pots, yell, anything, to make the coyotes feel unwelcome, or to ‘haze' them away.
"That might be just enough time for you to get out of the way or get away," Mark said.