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Coyotes: My response to a citizen question I received today

I was asked by a Foothills Area Command citizen today about the legality of shooting coyotes in a residential neighborhood.  Here’s my answer in bullet points for easy reading:

  • This is cruel and inhumane.  Coyotes are afraid of humans and really don’t want to encounter you.
  • If a coyote is watching you or walking parallel to you, they most likely are afraid for their pups nearby or a food source nearby.  Just calmly walk out of the vicinity.
  • If you shoot a coyote, you have now put that animal in a position of fighting for it’s life.
  • There is a City Ordinance prohibiting the propulsion of missiles within city limits.
  • You are responsible for every projectile you fire.  Along with the right to own a firearm also comes responsibility.
  • Are you prepared to harm another animal, a person, or damage property and pay the price and live with that?
  • This is a potential officer safety issue:  if you are hiding behind a wall or in the bushes to kill an animal and are reported to 911 because a citizen is alarmed (as they should be), are you prepared to have officers surround you and order you to put down the weapon peacefully?  If it’s a toy gun or BB gun, it will look just like the real thing.
  • Contact the City’s Animal Welfare department or the Open Space unit via 242-COPS (2677) if you have questions.
  • Contact the New Mexico Department of Fish and Game if there is a rabid or aggressive coyote (or other wildlife).
  • If you see or hear firing, please report it to 242-COPS or 911 from a safe place and we will dispatch officers.
  • Per the Humane Society (, more people are killed by errant golf balls than coyotes. 

Thanks for the great question and I hope I was able to provide helpful information.

Jill Garcia, Crime Prevention Specialist / ICPS, APD – Foothills Area Command