A coyote killed a Yorkie in Wauwatosa this weekend


It started off as a normal Saturday morning for Adrienne Burgoyne.

After leaving her two Yorkies outside, she stood by the back porch of her Wauwatosa home in the Fisher Woods neighborhood.

Moments later, tragedy struck.

A coyote grabbed one of the Yorkies – a 15-year-old named Brady – by the neck, then started to shake it.

“I didn’t have time to make noise or deflect (the coyote) in any way,” said Burgoyne, who was about 15 feet away at the time of the attack.

Fairly quickly, the coyote ran 20 feet into the neighbor’s yard and dropped the dog.

“I knew there was no way he would survive this,” she said.

Adrienne’s husband Drew eventually managed to get the coyote away from the dog, but it was too late – his neck was badly damaged.

Drew Burgoyne took him to the vet to slaughter him.

Now the couple are calling on the city to take action to tackle a small group of coyotes they say is “terrorizing” their neighborhood.

“We agree with the sympathies and condolences, but what we want is for the city to implement its policy,” said Drew Burgoyne.

A coyote tries to sneak past a herd of turkeys grazing in Wauwatosa in 2009.

How Wauwatosa plans to tackle ‘pest’ coyotes

This policy is the Wauwatosa “Coyote Nuisance Management and Response Plan”, which came out in 2016 after coyotes killed two companion dogs in Wauwatosa in 2015.

The plan says that when a verified pet attack occurs, the city will “hire a contracted professional to attempt to locate and eliminate the pest coyote (s).”

This attack will be verified using photographs and a veterinary invoice, as well as a completed incident report. Drew Burgoyne said he completed an incident report on Monday.

Eva Ennamorato, communications officer for the town of Wauwatosa, said town officials had already “started this process.”

Marty Johnson, wildlife biologist for the state’s Department of Natural Resources, confirmed he had discussed the plan with the city.

“The DNR does not do any pest removal work. I was able to refer the town to the pest trapper list on the DNR website,” Johnson said in an email.

“I just don’t want the animals of my neighbors and friends to be attacked, which is why we are calling for this policy to be implemented,” said Adrienne Burgoyne.

160 confirmed sightings of coyotes in Wauwatosa over the past 6 years

Jenny Kuchta, a neighbor of the Burgoynes, said her family saw several coyotes all day and night near their home.

She saw three coyotes on their street just a week before the attack, which occurred near North 123rd and West Vliet streets in Wauwatosa.

“Having a 6 month old puppy, I didn’t take him for a walk,” Kuchta said. “I have a mortal fear to take her for a walk.”

Kuchta and other neighbors shared coyote sightings on a Facebook group in the Fisher Woods neighborhood.

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There have been 160 reported sightings of coyote activity in Wauwatosa over the past six years, according to the Milwaukee County Coyote Watch website.

Abby Pavlik, a public information officer for the Wauwatosa Police Department, said there had been no calls, other than the weekend attack, to the department in 2021 for a coyote attack.

But a Facebook post by the department on Monday said there had been an “increase in coyote sightings and coyote activity in Wauwatosa” over the past week.

Johnson said the coyote breeding season, which begins in January, is approaching soon.

“As the breeding season approaches, the coyotes become more active, patrolling and defending their territories,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he did not have an estimate of how many coyotes might be in the area.

“In an urban setting, they don’t have the pressure to hunt or trap so they become very comfortable seeing real people,” Johnson said.

“For better or for worse, they will not be eliminated,” he added. “If you were to remove a coyote or two, it’s only a matter of time before another animal fills that vacancy.”

What to do if you meet a coyote

The Wisconsin DNR website has provided several tips for residents who may encounter coyotes in the wild. They include:

  • Remove potential food sources such as open garbage cans, bird feeders, and pet food bowls. Never intentionally feed coyotes.
  • Do not provide food and water for other wildlife. It can attract coyotes and their prey.
  • Clean up brush and undergrowth in your garden.
  • Use scary tactics if you see a coyote. Scream and make loud noises, shake or throw cans filled with coins, throw a ball, shoe, sticks or other objects, or spray the coyote with water. You can also buy ultrasonic dog repellents or pocket air horns.
  • Install a 6 to 7 foot high fence buried about 1 foot deep to help keep coyotes out of an area.
  • Trapping and hunting for coyotes on your property is legal year round without a permit from the MNR.

You can also add coyote sightings on the iNaturalist website at: inaturalist.org/projects/milwaukee-county-coyote-watch.

Evan Casey can be reached at 414-403-4391 or evan.casey@jrn.com. Follow him on twitter @ecaseymedia.

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