2018-05-17 / Front Page

Two coyotes killed; woman accused of leaving food for wildlife


Two coyotes were shot and killed in the center of the island, including one that was caught in a booby trap on the eighth hole at the golf course.

According to Police Chief Ed Mello, that coyote was killed April 23 by a patrolman. Mello could not say whether the trap was set legally, although it was given to the state Department of Environmental Management for review.

The second coyote was shot that same week near the intersection of Westwind Drive and North Road. According to the report, a homeowner shot the coyote with a rifle as it was attempting to enter the man’s yard by digging under his fence. Hunting season for coyotes on private land is open year-round with no bag limit in Rhode Island.

Before firing, the coyote was not deterred by the homeowner’s stern warnings, he told police. “Some of these coyotes aren’t necessarily retreating as they should,” Mello said.

The warmer weather has lured packs from their dens, and people from their houses, which has resulted in increased sightings, Mello said. Jamestown, however, is not an outlier.

“The condition we see here is not unusual,” he said. “A lot of communities in Rhode Island are dealing with coyotes.”

Kristine Trocki, council president, said her son recently witnessed “a very large and healthy” coyote roaming around their Maple Avenue house. The animal was big enough for Trocki to fear for her 75-pound yellow lab, which she keeps indoors when nobody is supervising the pet. Mello said it likely is the same animal routinely spotted in the field near 189 Narragansett Ave.

In a related matter, police have cited Pearl Turgeon, 370 Beavertail Road, for leaving food outdoors that is attracting wildlife. The feeding ordinance, which was adopted in October 2016 primarily to combat coyote encounters, carries a fine of between $100 and $500 for each violation.

“For a period of time, we felt the problem was resolved,” Mello said. “That condition has returned.”

According to Mello, the yard is covered in birdseed, with feeders scattered on tables and chairs.

“Clearly anything can get to that food,” he said. “It’s covering a good portion of the backyard.”

Birdseed is responsible for the rat infestation centralized around the property, Mello said, with rodents tunneling underneath gardens and fences.

The citation was issued May 8, just seven weeks after Turgeon was given a summons for the same infraction. She also was warned shortly after the ordinance passed. Because she is a repeat offender, Mello said her case will be heard in court.

Finally, Mello said the state has adopted the town’s design for its coyote warning signs. The state previously was using a sign that just indicated the law, which wasn’t “too catchy,” he said. The signs now will be posted at state parks in town along with popular rights-of-way for fishermen, including Fort Getty and Potter’s Cove.

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