CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — When he first moved to Chesterfield, Adam Guilbeaux said he had no trouble scaring coyotes away from his home. However, over the years, he’s noticed that the wild animals are becoming increasingly comfortable encroaching on his property.

“When I first moved into my home, I might see one, hundreds of yards away, as soon as they’d see me, they’d take off running,” Guilbeaux said. “Now, it almost appears as if they’re not as skittish or fearful of humans.”

He said coyotes no longer keep their distance. He added that it’s not unusual for him to look out at his backyard and see one less than 20 yards away. Coyotes have even started approaching his larger dogs.

“My big dog is kenneled, I don’t let him out. They [the coyotes] will walk up to the kennel sometimes,” Guilbeaux said. “They used to walk up in ones and twos, now the whole pack comes to investigate.”

Mike Fies with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources confirmed bold coyotes are cause for concern.

“Normally coyotes are secretive and afraid of humans,” Fies said. “When they become acclimated to urban environments, they can gradually lose their fear.”

Maintaining a healthy level of distance between humans and coyotes is critical to sustaining the symbiotic relationship between the two species. As wooded areas continue to be taken over by commercial developments, the wild animals that are forced from their habitats as a result will find new places to reside — and they’ll often encroach on nearby residential communities.

If coyotes grow significantly more brazen, Guilbeaux’s primary fear is the threat they could pose on young children and domesticated pets.

The Department of Wildlife Resources emphasize the coyote’s role in the community. Coyotes kill destructive rodents and mice. However, that doesn’t mean residents like Guilbeaux want them getting too comfortable approaching humans.

“If it [the coyote] does become bolder or aggressive, they can potentially be dangerous,” Fies said.

The Department of Wildlife Resources reminds the community to report any coyotes that appear to be aggressive. For more information on how to handle a coyote sighting in your area, visit here.