I was surprised the first time I heard that coyotes were seen around Ellicott City. I always figured that this particular pack animal was more commonly found in the southwest. This can likely be attributed to the fact that my actual knowledge of coyotes was largely formed by watching Roadrunner cartoons... right on through college.
It turns out that coyotes, like deer are highly adaptable. According to this story on Midday with Dan Rodricks on WYPR, they seem to be doing quite well around here. Dan interviews the authors of "Urban Carnivores: Ecology, Conflict and Conservation." about the infiltration of coyotes into urban and suburban communities. As it turns out, midwestern coyotes started appearing in Maryland in the 1970's and the populations are growing. "They've doubled their range and are exploring new habitats everyday."
Coyotes came back on my radar when Kristi Simon told me she was alerted by her village newsletter "saying there are coyotes running around Dorsey and parts of Howard County, and this has been confirmed as legitimate by the DNR. It warned that they are eating out of trash cans and can "attack small dogs and cats", and warned people not to let their pets out alone."
She was very concerned for her dog.
There is good news though. The coyotes are carnivores. They like deer too.