EAGAN, Minn. (WCCO) — For six years, coyotes have been popping up in the metro. Now, the DNR is calling it a major problem, and several people from different suburbs say their pets have been killed by the predators.

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The Department of Natural Resources says the city coyote problem stems from residents not being able to hunt and trap them, like residents in rural areas can.

In Eagan, Kris Muyskens says her dog, Kaya, has been acting skittish lately.

“She’s definitely felt worried and anxious, so much so that we had to get her a calming collar,” Muyskens said.

She says a family of coyotes has moved into the woods behind her house, and charged Kaya. Her husband was able to intercept. But their neighbor’s schnauzer, Clara, wasn’t so lucky. A coyote got her in her own backyard by jumping a 5-foot fence.

“You’re not gonna be able to erect a fence or anything that’s gonna keep them out, they’re smart,” said Cpt. Greg Salo with the DNR.

He said coyotes are opportunistic and see small pets as easy prey.

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“It’s posing a huge problem for all the metro suburbs,” Salo said. “Even Minneapolis and St. Paul are having problems with coyotes.”

Aside from Clara, there are other victims. A woman posted a photo to the Edina Patch telling people to watch out. She lost her cat, Nixers, to a coyote.

“It’s a guarantee,” Salo said. “If you have woods next to you, you have coyotes, and I would keep your pets supervised.”

The DNR advises pet owners to keep a leash and two eyes on small pets. He added that people should keep calm, as no humans in the metro have been attacked.

As for hazing or screaming at coyotes, the DNR says that may scare them away in the moment but does nothing to get them to move from the area.

In the city areas, there’s not much residents can do to get rid of them. The key is learning how you and your pets can safely co-exist with the coyotes. DNR says they are scared of humans, so people are generally safe.

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Related: Coyote sighting map set up by the city of Eagan.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield