GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Families in the Teravista neighborhood in Georgetown said a pack of coyotes is terrorizing their community. 

They told KXAN in the past week or so alone two young children were attacked and some small dogs. Many are afraid this is a growing problem, putting everyone in danger. They want help. 

Amanda Oparanozie’s 9-year-old daughter was attacked by a coyote on Saturday while outside roller skating.

“The coyote came up and bit her on her leg,” Oparanozie said. “Thankfully, she managed to stay calm, and there was a container in our yard, and she had picked up this container and started hitting the coyote and kept screaming until my husband came out there.”

Coyote bite on leg (Courtesy of Amanda Oparanozie)
Coyote bite on leg (Courtesy of Amanda Oparanozie)

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office said Monday night it received the report about the bite but said the animal is unidentified, since the attack wasn’t witnessed by an adult, only the child, who believes it was a coyote.

It’s a problem many in this area say has gotten out of control over the past few years, with a handful of neighbors’ surveillance video catching the coyotes roaming around. 

Kyle and Melanie Winston’s young son was followed to the car by a coyote.

“They’re getting less fearful of us, and it’s becoming more now we have to be even more fearful of going outside,” Melanie said.

Neighbors who can hear howling think there’s a den of coyotes on private property their neighborhood surrounds. But they haven’t been able to confirm whether the housing association or county would be responsible for helping them out. 

Teravista neighborhood map in Georgetown
Teravista neighborhood map in Georgetown

“It could be even worse if, you know, someone taking matters into their own hands and getting a weapon and firing at these animals,” Kyle said.

Now, the type of neighborhood where everyone knows everyone has become a little more closed off until those who call it home feel safe again. 

“[My daughter] should be able to go in our front yard and play and not be concerned about coyotes,” Oparanozie said.

According to Oparanozie, Williamson County Animal Control told her it would try to set traps to capture the coyote, but in a press release Monday, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office stated its animal control unit doesn’t generally trap wildlife, and those issues are referred to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Texas Parks and Wildlife told KXAN Tuesday morning that its urban biologist in the area was contacted by the HOA manager. It said the biologist was first contacted about the area two years ago and has stayed in touch. Back then, “she visited the area and provided the neighborhood our standard recommendations on living with coyotes, normal vs unusual coyote behaviors, provided insight on the removal of the coyotes should that need to be done and provided information and contact info for USDA Wildlife Services, and then recommended that the neighborhood form a Wildlife Committee and draft a plan based on the information she provided.”

Preventing coyote encounters

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office said coyotes are not naturally aggressive toward humans and provided some tips from TPW to keep coyote attacks at bay.

  • Do not feed coyotes! Keep pet food and water inside. Keep garbage securely stored, especially if it must be put on the curb for collection; use tight-locking or bungee cord-wrapped trashcans that are not easily opened.
  • Keep compost piles securely covered; correct composting never includes animal matter like bones or fat, which can draw coyotes even more quickly than decomposing vegetable matter.
  • Keep pets inside, confined securely in a kennel or covered exercise yard or within the close presence of an adult.
  • Walk pets on a leash and accompany them outside, especially at night.
  • Do not feed wildlife on the ground; keep wild bird seed in feeders designed for birds elevated or hanging above ground and clean up spilled seed from the ground; coyotes can either be drawn directly to the seed, or to the rodents drawn to the seed.
  • Minimize clusters of shrubs, trees and other cover and food plants near buildings and children’s play areas to avoid attracting rodents and small mammals that will in turn attract coyotes.
  • Use noise making and other scaring devices when coyotes are seen. Check with local authorities regarding noise and firearms ordinances. Portable air horns, motor vehicle horns, propane cannons, starter pistols, low powered pellet guns, slingshots, and thrown rocks can be effective.