CHARLOTTE, NC -- Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners held a hearing on the concerning growth of the coyote population in our area Tuesday night.

Officials from the county's Parks and Recreation Department and the city's Animal Care and Control Department addressed the problem.

We've been getting a lot of reports from constituents, said commissioner Jennifer Roberts. We've heard a lot of concern, fear a lot of incidents with pets.

Over the past few months, there's been a surge in coyote sightings around the Charlotte area. Family pets have been mauled, injured, and in a few cases, killed. A new website created by the county last week has already received 125 reports of coyotes spotted in neighborhoods.

Roberts cautioned that Tuesday's report was only informational, in an attempt to educate the public about the problem.

(MAP: Coyote Sightings)

They're really difficult to eradicate. We've looked at places across the country where this is happened. It's part of urban areas, infringing on rural areas, Roberts said.

A new state proposal to allow bow hunting of coyotes on Sunday nights on private land looks unlikely, at least in Charlotte. The city has a policy against bow hunting, and Roberts says it wouldn't be feasible in the county either.

Bow hunting is not really an option. It s more dangerous than it is effective, Roberts added.

North Carolina law allows hunting coyote all year long with guns during the day but not on Sundays because of Blue Laws. Charlotte s city laws, however, does not allow residents to hunt coyote with guns.

Roberts says the coyotes would likely require a long-term management plan. She hopes the new website will at least allow the county to track where the packs of coyotes seem to be the most concentrated so neighbors can be alerted.

*Map courtesy of The Charlotte Observer

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