DORAVILLE, Ga. -- A Doraville Elementary school has taken precautions after nearby residents reported a number of coyote sightings.
Several people living in the Northcrest neighborhood said they have heard the howls at night, seen the footprints during the day, and even had pets disappear.
"The concern is that [Pleasantdale Elementary School] backs up to a wooded area where there could be a den, and there's no fence around it," said concerned Northcrest resident Fred Brazzell. He's seen several coyotes and no longer lets his small dog out at night.
A representative for DeKalb County said the school hasn't seen any coyotes during the day, but they're being careful anyway. They keep their doors and dumpster lids closed, and keep a close eye on kids when they're outside. Two coaches watch them at all times and keep radios handy in case of a sighting.
Wildlife experts for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources say coyotes aren't much of a threat to humans, because they're scared of them. They couldn't find a documented case of a coyote attacking a human in the whole southeast, though there have been isolated cases out west.
"You never can say with 100 percent certainty that it won't happen here, but with 10 million people here in Georgia and a prolific coyote population, I would think if they had the propensity to attack humans it would have happened by now," said Senior Wildlife Biologist Don McGowan.
McGowan said there are coyotes in every county in the state. They've moved into urban areas all over the country seeking easy food sources. Another Northcrest resident grew up around coyotes as an Arizona native, and he plans to let his kids play outside as much as they want.
"Coyotes are clever but they're mostly afraid of humans, and the people who have animals outside at night should be concerned, but I'm not worried about my kids," Aaron Rossi said.