(KATV) The Searcy Police Department is being flooded with calls of coyote sightings. They're apparently becoming brazen, wandering into heavily populated areas in search of food.
The police department has been receiving calls for about a month. It's on the south side of the city limits, but not just in one specific neighborhood.
Police are concerned and that's why they have been given the ok by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to take matters into their own hands.
Ten-year-old Jesse Allison says, "At first you can't really tell if it's a coyote or not but when I saw it running from over there, I was like that is not a dog."
Stacey Jonker, her kids and neighbors have watched coyotes, a female, large male and even a baby inch closer to their apartments over the past month. "Everyday you see them, everyday," she says horrified.
There's a fence that separates the apartments from the Walmart Distribution center where they like to roam. Every time the fence is repaired, it appears they dig another hole.
Jonker says, "A neighbor came down to throw the trash away and the coyote was beside the dumpster. That's way too close." She adds, "We're more scared of them than they of us because he's just standing there and that's not normal."
Jonker thinks the livestock barn next door may also be attracting them.
Searcy police are armed, ready to lower the population. Terri Lee explains, "What we're doing is using small caliber. It's short range ammunition that way there's not a big spray over so you have little chance of hitting something else. So we're trying to get those numbers down that way."
The permit is for one year. Lee adds, "Maybe they find food somewhere else and they stop coming in the city and we don't have to shot any of them, that's even better."
Jonker adds, "One day you're going to go out there, what if they attack?"
According to Game and Fish the coyote population is a growing problem across the U.S. and they'll eat just about anything.
Residents are being asked to keep pet food inside, watch small pets, keep your garbage in a sealed trash can and education because kids can easily mistake a coyote for a dog.
Other than shooting the coyotes the other options were poison or trapping, but those could hurt the environment or trap and hurt domestic pets or kids.
It is against the law for you to get involved and discharge a gun in the city.