CORVALLIS, Ore. — Corvallis Police are warning hikers at Bald Hill Park to be careful after they say a coyote bit someone’s dog.
Police say three hikers reported seeing a coyote on Tuesday, one of whom said the coyote bit his dog. Though police say the dog is uninjured, they are recommending that people avoid the area.
Neighbors, however, say they see coyotes all the time, and say the animals are usually scared of humans.
“I live near here and there are coyotes everywhere,” said Debra Van Der Sommen, who hikes around Bald Hill frequently. “I’ve come across them before and they’re very scared of me. I’ve yelled at them and they just looked at me and kept going.”
Police say Tuesday’s sightings were between 9:30 am – 7:30 pm on one of the dirt trails. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife believes the coyote is protecting a den of pups, a situation when coyotes become territorial.
If hikers still take their dogs to the area, ODFW recommends owners keep their pets on a leash.
Early Wednesday morning, hikers had heard of a coyote sighting, but this was before police had released information about the dog bite.
“I’m not nervous at all,” said hiker Jim Sorte. “Because I wouldn’t expect a coyote to attack me. Maybe a small animal or something if I had a smaller animal.”
Other dog owners say they walk the area all the time, and a coyote sighting does not worry them either.
“Well this is Oregon, and this is part of the Oregon life,” said hiker Guillermo Gonzalez. “We are pretty close with nature. It’s a blessing, but also nature comes with these types of situations.”
Other hikers, such as Whitney Mintken who pushes her son in a stroller frequently through the area, are more concerned.
“It makes me nervous, definitely,” she said. “I mean it’s something to come out and relax to take a walk, but now I’m looking around a little more.”
ODFW says if anyone encounters a coyote, to keep a distance. Officials say to shout, make loud noises, and to throw sticks and rocks in the direction of the animal to try to scare it off. They also recommend that people wave their arms and stomp their feet.