Coyote seen in Salt Lake City neighborhood sparks concern over pets

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A Utah man shares a message of caution after spotting a wild animal not often seen in the middle of the day on the busy streets of Salt Lake City’s Sugar House neighborhood. A coyote appeared to kill domestic animals for food.

Levi Clark was heading to brunch on Sunday when something caught his eye at 1300 East near Westminster College.

Sugar House’s bustling thoroughfare is usually lined on either side with joggers and people walking their dogs on the sidewalk.

“I saw him right outside my window, and I was like, I thought he was a dog for a second. ‘He’s a weird dog,’ Clark recounted. “And then I realized, it clicked, it was a coyote.”

Clark and his friends immediately pulled over and began taking photos and videos from the car, bewildered to see the wild animal roaming the busy city street in broad daylight as cars drove by and people walked nearby.

“He was just doing his own thing and didn’t seem impressed with his surroundings,” Clark said.

They curiously watched the coyote casually kick it in front yards away from town, hang out and seemingly enjoy city life, until they got a closer look at what the coyote was up to.

He was picking something up off the floor and carrying it in his mouth.

A coyote that was spotted in a Sugar House neighborhood in Salt Lake City is pictured Sunday, January 23, 2022.
Levi Clark

“And then we started going, ‘What’s he eating? you know,” Clark explained. “And that’s when we realized, ‘Oh, that looks like a cat.’ And he was poking it in the front yard.

They called the police non-emergency line, and Clark said the dispatcher told him they had already tracked the coyote.

Salt Lake police said they would normally call the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for this kind of situation. But the DWR said it doesn’t actually manage coyotes because they aren’t protected wildlife. All he can do is offer advice if someone spots them in his neighborhood.

He thinks the coyote was just passing by and probably left.

Clark worried that other people’s pets might fall prey to the coyote if he continued to hang around town. He posted the photos with a disclaimer on Reddit, which then exploded and was shared on other social media sites.

Clark said he hopes pet owners remain vigilant.

“There are a lot of cats, dogs in this area. It’s a suburban area,” he said. “So I wanted to make sure people were aware, that they kept their eyes open.”

DWR shared tips from Wild Aware Utah for staying safe if a coyote is spotted in the area. This includes keeping all pet food, bird feeders, and water inside, and making sure small pets and children don’t go out unattended.

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