As the South Metro area grapples with urban coyotes, Centennial and its neighbor Greenwood Village took very different approaches to the problem this …
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As the South Metro area grapples with urban coyotes, Centennial
and its neighbor Greenwood Village took very different approaches
to the problem this week.
After an hour’s deliberation, the Centennial City Council gave
final approval Feb. 2 to a plan that mixes educational outreach,
coyote monitoring and restrained mitigation.
The resolution passed 7-1 with District 4 Councilmember Ron
Weidmann casting the only vote against. District 1’s Betty Ann
Habig was not present.
On the same evening, the Greenwood Village City Council voted
unanimously to approve an educational plan and a sweeping
extermination policy that by contrast includes regular trapping and
shooting of the animals.
While Centennial’s resolution includes the targeted killings of
specific problem coyotes as a last resort, Greenwood Village has
applied for a permit to set random traps and will hire shooters to
“It will be in targeted areas where there’s a heavy population.
It’s a population control measure,” said police Lt. Joe Harvey,
Greenwood Village’s designated spokesman on the coyote issue.
Greenwood Village Mayor Nancy Sharpe could not be reached for
The comparatively aggressive move by Greenwood Village comes
nearly two months after Centennial began abandoning consideration
of a broad policy for lethal mitigation.
At a Dec. 8 council meeting, representatives from the Colorado
Division of Wildlife and others made a detailed presentation to the
Centennial council and cautioned against the kind of sweeping
policies Greenwood Village has enacted.
Ashley Delaup, a wildlife ecologist for the City and County of
Denver, told the council that killing coyotes often results in even
larger coyote populations in the future because the animal tends to
overcompensate for its losses.
Jack Murphy, director of Denver-based Urban Wildlife Rescue,
said when mating alpha males are killed or otherwise removed from
the population, it can wreak havoc, causing young coyotes that
would not normally mate to do so.
According to Harvey, the Greenwood Village City Council did not
consider such factors in its decision.
“That’s something we’ll have to look into,” he said.
Concerns about which direction its neighbor to the north would
take clearly played on Centennial officials as they considered
final approval of their own coyote management plan.
While both cities mulled their different plans simultaneously,
some on the Centennial council wondered if the city should wait and
see what Greenwood Village was going to do first.
“Whatever they do is kind of a laboratory. We can observe and
make better decisions as we see what happens there,” District 1
Councilmember Rick Dindinger suggested.
Another consideration is a coyote symposium next week for city
and county officials throughout metro Denver. Some officials
wondered if it might make sense to wait to see if a new regional
consensus results from the Feb. 11 event hosted by the Colorado
Division of Wildlife.
District 4’s Weidmann made unsuccessful motions to delay council
action until June before casting the sole vote against enacting the
coyote management plan.
“If we’re looking at dangerous animals, there’s probably more
chance of a domestic animal being dangerous than a coyote,” he
said, citing a Centennial pit bull that had been euthanized after
an attack on a human.
Although a failed amendment to delay action until early March
received the support of four councilmembers, Weidmann was the only
official to vote for holding off all action until June.
Most supported the idea of moving forward and amending the
management plan if future events suggest a needed change in
“I don’t see why we wouldn’t implement the plan that we have in
place without [Greenwood Village’s] lethal measures,” Mayor Randy
Pye said to colleagues. “If it turns out Greenwood Village is more
successful, then maybe we just implement that part of the
The educational component of Centennial’s course of action
includes encouraging residents to remove pet food, fallen fruit and
other such items from their lawns, to install 6-foot-tall privacy
fences, and above all, to never intentionally feed a coyote, among
The council may also consider ordinances to allow higher fences
and to legally prohibit the feeding of wildlife, a prohibition
Greenwood Village already has in place.
Centennial’s program includes elements of “coexistence” with
coyotes and use of so-called “hazing” methods to instill fear of
humans in the urbanized animal. These methods can include anything
from yelling and throwing objects at coyotes to professional use of
paint balls and slingshots.
According to figures provided by the city, it will cost
Centennial $65,000 to implement what it calls a Level 1 version of
the program. The annual figure includes $20,000 for a part-time
staff-intern knowledgeable about coyote issues, $2,000 for coyote
hazing, $18,000 for staff support and $15,000 in educational
materials and postage.
In the case of killing coyotes that have become habitual
problems, the city would expect to spend about $1,000 to identify
each aggressive coyote, $8,000 to hire a trapper and $1,500 for a
shooter. The more expensive designated levels 2 and 3 would have
cost the city between $80,000 and $100,000 a year.
Centennial already has begun efforts to educate the public about
coyotes by distributing brochures and reaching out to neighborhoods
and school districts. A prominently displayed coyote incident
report system also has been added to the city Web site.
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