In this month’s print magazine, you’ll find a story about the City’s coyote management program and the woman, Jackie Sutherland, who runs things.
We call her the “coyote czar” or “the coyote lady,” and she seems badass.
When the story and photos went out on social media, you all thought the same. But several people have asked about the gear Sutherland carries on patrol.
In addition to her little dog, Missy, Sutherland carries a kit of tools used to train coyotes, if you will, to leave pets and people alone.
For lack of a better word, Missy is bait. She’s in no real danger, but when a coyote comes toward her, it presents an opportunity for Sutherland to deter coyotes through hazing.
“Missy wears a spiked harness that was made custom and a spiked collar for protection,” Sutherland says in a follow up interview.
According to the City, hazing is an effective tool to re-establish a coyote’s natural wariness of people. Waving your arms and yelling at the coyote is a good form of hazing. Noisemakers such as whistles, horns or banging pots are also effective. If a coyote approaches while you’re walking, pick up a rock or stick to toss in the animals direction. Don’t aim to hit it, just to deter it.
When Missy and Sutherland patrol, they have a small arsenal of items used to haze and thereby keep both coyote and humans safer.
There’s the paintball gun, “for projectile hazing, which teaches the coyote that even if I am 60 feet away I can still reach out and touch them if I wanted to,” Sutherland says, “which teaches them to give a wider berth to humans and leave certain spaces quicker when they see us enter them.”
The thermal night vision scope, “to use for evening and early morning patrols so I can see the number of coyotes around me in any given area as well as their movements.”
An airhorn is “used as a noise deterrent during an approach/haze.”
She and most of the officers also carry flashlights, extendable batons and multi tools.
She adds that “one of the most effective tools I and others use to modify behavior is a plastic water bottle with rocks in it. I left that one in the car.”