Coyote populations continue to encroach on urban areas in West Virginia and state wildlife officials say residents must learn to co-exist with the animals.
"There's been millions poured into coyote control out west -- it doesn't work," said Curtis Taylor, chief of wildlife services for the state Division of Natural Resources. "If you start killing a lot of them, they just increase their reproductive rate."
Coyotes actually thrive in urban areas, and Curtis said it's best for people to learn how to avoid them.
"There's not much control in urban areas," he said. "They're here to stay."
Sightings are reported all over town, but for some South Hills residents, the animals are getting too close for comfort.
Debbie Cobb, who cares for a colony of feral cats in her Circle Road neighborhood, said two of the cats have been killed in recent weeks. She suspects it was the work of coyotes.
On the morning of Oct. 4, Cobb found Sylvester, a 14-year-old black and white feline, dead near her house. His body showed clear evidence of having been a meal for another animal.
"I'm really upset about it," she said. "I think he didn't even know what hit him."
Another of Cobb's cats had a similar fate.
Cobb's neighbors have also had recent run-ins, whether it was reports of missing pets or people actually seeing coyotes on their property.
"We're just getting overpopulated with them," she said. "They're getting pretty brave."
Cobb called city police to report Sylvester's death.
Charleston humane officer Thaddeous Boggess responded to that call. Although he doesn't get a lot of calls about coyotes, he said people often tell him in passing that they are becoming a problem.
"When I'm out on routine calls, I have people stop me and tell me they have coyotes," he said.
City police don't keep exact numbers of coyote-related calls unless there was a police report written about the incident, said Lt. Aaron James, a Charleston police officer.
Other South Hills residents have also said they've seen coyotes.