The well-heeled hamlet of Chappaqua north of New York City is embroiled in a nasty debate that seems oddly out of place amid the stately homes and tony boutiques: What should be done about coyotes?

Coyote spotters in Chappaqua and the rest of the Town of New Castle have counted 160 incursions into backyards and streets over the last two years and at least 10 recent attacks on pets. That's stirring animal passion among residents over the question of when a coyote deserves to be killed.

Email and social media have swirled with such terms as "coyote jihad." And members of a local task force that advocates killing some animals announced they were staying away from a recent public hearing for their own safety.

A policy is expected in the next few months.