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12/20/2012 2:42:00 PM
Killing coyotes: What you can and can't do
VVN/Steve AyersCamp Verde resident Bob Upton has lost five sheep in the last two weeks to coyotes. This week he began setting traps after seeking advice on what his rights as a homeowner were when it comes to protecting his property from predators.
VVN/Steve Ayers

Camp Verde resident Bob Upton has lost five sheep in the last two weeks to coyotes. This week he began setting traps after seeking advice on what his rights as a homeowner were when it comes to protecting his property from predators.

Steve Ayers
Staff Reporter

CAMP VERDE - Bob Upton has been around these parts long enough to realize that he shares his property with whatever wildlife wanders through.

Roadrunners, rabbits and javalina are regular visitors.

He also property is also home to his flock of Barbados sheep.

"With three and a half acres they are good to have around when it comes to keeping the grass down," he says.

But from time to time, and especially around this time of year, he and the local wildlife cease to coexist.

"Two weeks ago I had 16 sheep. I'm now down to nine. I sold two but the coyotes have killed five," says Upton.

Coyotes have visited his property on and off over the years. Usually they make one or two strikes and are gone, but this year he says it's been a sustained assault.

"I once had four killed in a single night. But that was it. This year though has been really bad. They keep coming back. I had one killed on a Friday, another the following Sunday and then another on Monday. They took a week off then came back this week and took two more," he says.

Upton said he has also heard from his neighbors about numerous raids on chickens, along with neighborhood cats and dogs.

"The lady I used to get my eggs from doesn't have any because coyotes have killed all of her hens," says Upton.

On Wednesday, following the discovery of his fifth sheep carcass, Upton called the marshal's office to come out to his property to answer question about how he can legally defend himself from the onslaught.

"I've used traps in the past and always wanted to shoot them. But I was never sure and I have always been afraid I would trap one of my neighbor's dogs. So I thought it was time to ask.

Animal Control Officer Lisa Diacik offered this advice.

The town code makes it illegal to recklessly discharge a weapon in the Town limits.

However, if a coyote threatens your livestock you do have the legal right to trap or shoot the animal.

"The big thing is you have to be able to prove the animal was a threat. And more importantly you are responsible for the bullet and where it ends up.

"The other really important thing to remember is that we are talking about livestock, which means horses, cattle, sheep, goats. The exemption does not apply to chickens and rabbits," said Diacik.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Article comment by: what I

would do Bob is be out watching for them with an AK or AR. Forget what these liberal tell you

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012
Article comment by: Rescuing a Livestock Gaurd dog might be a good option to protect the livestock

There are breeds of dogs bred for just such a situation. Perhaps you could investigate the rescue groups that struggle to find suitable homes for these instinctual gaurd dogs. Many are unwanted because of the trend by some to think they should be a good house pet. Good luck.
"The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a large and powerful dog, and as such is not suited for everyone. They were bred for hundreds, if not thousands of years in their native Turkey as Livestock Guardians for the flocks of semi-nomadic shepherds. Their natural foes included wolves, bears, and wild boar."

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012
Article comment by: Peaceful Coexistence

Since this guy is basically asking for it by baiting the coyotes with easy food, why can't he properly fence his property to keep out the critters in the first place? He does this, end of story.

I think traps are incredibly cruel. If you're going to kill a varmint, at least shoot it and get it over quick.

And let's remember coyotes, lions, bobcats, and all other endemic natural predators were here long before this guy was. This is their home.

These predators play a legitimate and necessary role in the natural ecosystem. They have just as much right to be here as this guy does. Maybe more, since he chooses to raise non-native animals that don't belong here.

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: Can you use an electric fence?

I've installed 3 hot wires to the outside of the fence and never had a problem with the coyotes.

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: Common Sense

I suggest Bob Upton build a shed to house his sheep at night or else get a big dog to guard the sheep at night. Sheep need protecting and not with coyote traps.

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