Doddridge residents concerned about coyote sightings

"DODDRIDGE COUNTY", W.Va (WDTV) -- Just when we thought deer were our main problem, coyotes sightings have begun to gain attention.

Concern has sprung from the howls and paw prints in the snow for multiple residents.

Mostly in Doddridge County, residents have posted to the Facebook page urging pet owners to keep an eye out, whiles others complained about hearing them at night.

Some even said they have almost hit them on the roads and suspect them to be the cause for their missing pets.

"In the evening, afternoon, I work at Nicholson's Auto and there's coyotes coming across the road where we work at", said Doddridge County resident, Sam Perrine.

Perrine also mentioned he has a new dog and the coyotes could cause trouble

"Got a puppy, they'll attack small dogs, they'll attack big dogs too"

WDTV got in touch with the State Director for USDA Wildlife services, John Forbes, who says coyotes do have a diet that contains smaller animals.

"They prey on small mammals primarily, they'll also eat dead animals. Occasionally they'll prey on fawns and livestock but they're primary food is small mammals," said Forbes.

Forbes said it's prime time for younger coyotes to venture off into more urban areas.

"So this time of year you'll see juveniles start exploring out on their own, so they're also more mobile , so you will encounter younger coyotes this time of year."

He also suggest that people who feed outside pets, not leave that food out for extended periods of time.

"if you feed your pets outside, whether they're dogs or cats or whatever, that you feed what they animal will eat in one sitting and then you remove that food so you don't leave food out on the porch or out in the yard where its gonna attract coyotes to your yard. So want to make sure that your feeding your animals and then picking that food up so there's not an ongoing food source," explained Forbes.

He says coyotes are known to run off if they see a human, but it still pays to be careful.

"Always be careful around wildlife, if you encounter wildlife out on the trail or out when your walking your dog you just need to be careful and not approach the animal, try to protect your pet, back away from the area, that sort of thing," Forbes warned.