Pets being killed by coyotes, Cortez residents say

By CINDY LANE | sun staff writer

CORTEZ – Quigley, Charlie, Rudy and Silver are just four of the dozen or
more beloved dogs and cats that have fallen victim recently to what
residents are sure are coyotes.

On Friday, Linda Molto lost a kitten that she had found a home for.

"I had just fed him when I heard it," she said. "I went out and heard him
let out one cry. All the vegetation was pounded down. There had to be a pack
of them."

Since last Halloween, neighbors have been talking about seeing coyotes and
wondering whether they are coming from the FISH Preserve, which is being
cleared, said Molto, who is on the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage
(FISH) board of directors.

It’s not likely they’re coming from the preserve, said Gary Morse, an
officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

"They don’t need that much wooded area," he said. "Coyotes find pickings
fairly easy because people leave pets and pet food out."

Coyotes also are attracted to trash; Morse recommends putting trash out in
the morning instead of at night. The FWC also recommends five-foot-high
fencing to deter coyotes, keeping pets from roaming free and carrying a
stick, golf club or pepper spray when walking dogs on leashes, particularly
at sunrise and sunset near water.

"They will snatch dogs off leashes," Morse said. "If you are confronted by a
coyote, pick the dog up" and stand as tall as possible.

The state will not trap and remove coyotes, Morse said, nor will the Manatee
County Animal Services Department, which does not handle wild animals.

People can hire wildlife trappers to remove coyotes, but the animals will be
euthanized, as it is against state law to relocate them except to humanely
euthanize them, Morse said.

The FWC lists wildlife trappers on its website, but most will not handle
coyotes for several reasons: they can carry rabies, they can be vicious when
cornered and many do not euthanize animals.

At least one trapper on the website does handle coyotes, Wayne Evans with
Animal Instinct Wildlife Removal in Riverview, (813-785-8769;

As a last resort, legal methods of taking coyote are by gun, bow or snare,
according to the FWC website. There is no closed season on coyotes in
Florida. Steel traps and hunting at night with a light can be conducted only
by special permit issued by the FWC, and the use of poisons to kill coyotes
is illegal.

Published in: on October 19, 2010 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

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