Residents Demand City Remove Coyotes From Local Park

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    Residents want all coyotes removed from a neighborhood where a 3-year-old boy was attacked, but experts say the residents need to do a better job of coexisting with the animals. Dick Johnson reports. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013)

    There's a big difference of opinion in the Austin neighborhood where a boy may have been attacked by a coyote.

    Three-year-old Emeil Hawkins was attacked by an animal he thought was a dog in an alley near Columbus Park several weeks ago.

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    Four coyotes were trapped and euthanized in the park shortly afterward.

    Ald. Deborah Graham organized a community meeting Wednesday night for city officials to meet with local residents.

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    Residents in the Austin neighborhood are keeping a close eye on their children after a 3-year-old boy was bitten around three weeks ago, possibly by a coyote. Emily Florez reports. (Published Friday, Nov. 15, 2013)

    "I'm just sorry that little Emeil had to get bit for people to wake up and start telling people about the problem," said Bryce Kyle, the victim's mother's boyfriend.

    The stomach contents of the euthanized coyotes showed human food, including a pork chop and bologna. Experts say that's evidence they're adapting to a more populated environment, and relying more on gathering food and being fed instead of their natural hunting skills.

    Some residents want all coyotes removed immediately, but experts say the residents need to do a better job of coexisting with the animals.

    Cook County Animal Care administrator Donna Alexander says it's important to not leave food out, and to not interact with the animals so they'll have to rely on their natural food sources -- small rodents, deer, geese, birds and fruit.

    "The coyotes ... stamp your feet, be angry, yell at them. Keep being humans," Alexander said.

    Rabies tests proved negative on Emeil, but he'll need plastic surgery to repair the bite wounds on his face.