Coyote sightings make NO residents uneasy

By MARY FOSTER | July 7, 2011 | 11:14 AM EDT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — They've been spotted in the suburbs and in New Orleans' biggest park, along river levees and on some streets.

Coyotes — some possibly driven from their territories along the levee by the Mississippi River's spring flooding — are being targeted by SWAT teams in suburban Jefferson Parish and officials are considering deploying sound systems that mimic the noises of cougars — a traditional coyote enemy.

Meanwhile, the wild dogs are snacking on cats and at least one small dog, though experts say the coyote invasion of New Orleans poses little risk to residents because the animals usually avoid contact with humans.

But people are afraid of them and even more afraid for their pets, said Jefferson Parish Councilman Elton Lagasse.