They’re here, but they’re not a huge threat: Learn what to do if you see a coyote in Rochester

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Photos by Martha Wheaton of Bloomfield, Mich., taken Nov. 2012.

Rochester Chief of Police Steve Schettenhelm sent out a fact sheet earlier today with details on how to identify coyotes and what to do if you spot one in your neighborhood.

The notice comes after a seasonal increase in phone calls alerting the station that the furry residents have been trotting around Rochester.

While the calls are few, “not every day or anything like that,” Schettenhelm says, most coyotes have been found roaming on the east side of Rochester, in the neighborhoods near Runyon Road and Dequindre Road.

Compared to previous seasons, there have been more sightings this year, “but it is something that you never know if it’s more coyotes or if it’s just more awareness of them,” he said.

No residents have reported injury but a big concern is the safety of their small pets.

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One incident involved a dog who was bitten by a coyote and released, “but beyond that, we have not had any injuries or missing dogs that we can account for,” he said.

Roaming coyotes is no new phenomenon in Michigan, as Schettenhelm explains that coyotes are nomadic and change residency often, covering a typical area of eight to 10 miles.

“Once they kind of work through an area, they’ll move on to another area and

search for food,” he said.

Since coyotes tend to evade any sort of trap, catching them is nearly impossible. Not to mention, there is no hunting in the city.

So the Rochester Police Department’s best management method, as Schettenhelm calls it, is to continue informing residents.

“Hopefully people will be a little more aware of when they let their dogs out particularly in the evening or early morning hours and take precautions to keep them safe,” he said.

Here are some quick tips on what to do if you see a coyote near your home:

* Coyotes will hunt anything under their weight, up to 40 pounds.

* Horns, bright lights or whistles may help to scare a coyote away.

* Keep an eye on small pets if you plan to let them out in the early morning or evening.

* Do not allow larger pets to chase a coyote; there is a very high chance of the pet being killed in the fight.

To learn more, you can view the fact sheet here. For more tips on coyotes, check out the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

To contact the Rochester Police Department, call 248-651-9621.

About Jen Bucciarelli

Veggie lover and aspiring word chef, reporter Jen Bucciarelli covers all things health and medicine for Rochester Media and The Community Edge. She is always on the hunt for local experts who can help improve the lives of our readers. Send her a note at


  1. Coyotes won’t hurt you unless they’re hungry or are feeling threatened. So don’t shot them if they’re just strolling through where you are because they are living just like you are. Coyotes are cute animals observe them from a good distance though they frighten easily and could end up attacking you if you are too close in range for their comfort.

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