ATLANTA (AJC)-The city of Atlanta said Friday afternoon it plans to hire a second trapper to assess the threat of coyotes at a neighborhood park.

A den of coyotes is living on private property adjacent to Emma Millican Park in southwest Atlanta, prompting Atlanta officials to close the park earlier this week.

The city hired Catch It Wild, whose trapper Tim Smith placed seven traps to catch the wild animals. But the traps were placed on private property not owned by the city, according to Sharon Davis, spokeswoman for the parks department.

“Without authorization from the city or consent from the property owner, Mr. Smith set several leg traps on private property near the coyotes’ home,” Davis said in a email to the AJC Friday.

The city detailed its contract with Smith in an email sent Wednesday, obtained by the AJC. The email, sent by Justin Long with the parks department, states:

“The purpose of this email is to make clear that the City has not authorized you to place any traps on private property.  The City does not have a contract with you for any activity on private property, and will not pay for any traps or other worked performed by your company on private property.

“The City has hired you for the sole purpose of: 1) performing an assessment of coyote presence and eradication in Emma Millican Park; and 2)  placing one (1) live trap in Emma Millican Park beginning today (November 30, 2011) and removing the trap at the time directed by the City.  The City will pay for these services only.”

Smith removed the traps, and the city will now find a second trapper, Davis said. Efforts were being made Friday night to reach Smith for comment.

The city has also discussed the coyote situation with officials from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Fulton County Animal Control, Davis said.

“The city is assessing what authority it has, if any, to require the property owner to address the coyotes living in their yard,” Davis said. “The property owner has been aware of the situation for months but has not taken steps to have the coyotes removed.”

The park, located in the Capitol View Manor neighborhood off Metropolitan Parkway, is expected to remain closed until the situation is resolved, Davis said.

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