A Utah man is sharing a message of caution after spotting a wild animal that isn’t often seen in the middle of the day on the busy streets of Salt Lake City’s Sugar House neighborhood. A coyote appeared to be killing household pets for food.

Levi Clark was headed to brunch Sunday when something caught his attention on 1300 East near Westminster College.

The busy Sugar House thoroughfare is usually bordered on each side by joggers and people walking their dogs on the sidewalk.

“I saw it right out my window, and I was like, I thought it was a dog for a sec. ‘That’s a weird-looking dog,’” Clark recounted. “And then I realized, it clicked, it was a coyote.”

Clark and his friends immediately pulled over and began to take pictures and video from the car, bewildered to see the wild animal wandering the bustling city street in broad daylight, as cars zoomed by and people walked not far away.

“He was just doing his own thing, and seemed unfazed by his environment,” Clark said.

They curiously watched the coyote just casually kicking it in front yards far into town, hanging out and apparently enjoying city life, until they looked closer at what the coyote was doing.

It was picking something up off the ground and carrying it around in its mouth.

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

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

They called the police nonemergency line, and Clark said dispatch told him they’d already been tracking the coyote.

There’s a lot of cats, dogs around this area. So, I wanted to make sure that people were aware, keep their eyes out. — Levi Clark

Salt Lake police said they would normally call the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for that kind of situation. But DWR said it doesn’t actually manage coyotes because they’re not protected wildlife. All it can do is offer tips if anyone spots them in their neighborhood.

It believes the coyote was just passing through and likely moved on.

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Clark became concerned that other people’s pets could fall prey to the coyote if it continued to hang around the city. He posted the pictures with a heads-up on Reddit, which then blew up and was shared on other social media sites.

Clark said he hopes pet owners will stay vigilant.

“There’s a lot of cats, dogs around this area. It’s a suburban area,” he said. “So, I wanted to make sure that people were aware, keep their eyes out.”

DWR shared tips from Wild Aware Utah on staying safe if a coyote is spotted in the area. That includes keeping all pet food, bird feeder and water inside, and making sure small pets and children don’t go outside unsupervised.

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