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How To Avoid a Coyote Attack

Manatee County offers steps for keeping people and pets safe from coyotes following a dog's death in a Bradenton neighborhood.

Editor's note: The story has been updated to include the correct numbers to report coyote sightings to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Days after a Bradenton resident reported her , Manatee County officials on Thursday offered residents some tips to prevent residential coyote attacks.

The warning comes less than a week after Melody Sweetman Carpenter's 10-pound Maltese, Ari Lynn, was fatally bitten by what she and others believe was a coyote in front of her Bay Lakes Estates home. Sweetman Carpenter's story has since been picked up by local media outlets and TV news broadcasts, and the Bradenton resident has formed an awareness group, Arresting Renegade Invaders (ARI), to combat coyotes in neighborhoods.

The county's animal services department on Thursday advised residents to properly store trash and to keep pets safe in order to avoid another incident.

“Problems occur when people leave food outside their homes, leave trash available, or allow their cats and dogs to roam the neighborhood,” said Animal Services Chief Kris Weiskopf in a news release. “When that happens, you’re providing easy meals to coyotes, inviting them into your neighborhood and encouraging them to lose their natural fear of humans.”

The public can report residential coyote sightings to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's hotline at 888-404-3922 or contact the FWC's Southwest Regional Office, which covers Manatee County, at 863-648-3200

Weiskopf also offered the following tips to prevent the threat of coyotes:

  • Never leave pet food or trash outside where it can attract wildlife
  • Reduce cover for coyotes and their prey, such as rodents and other small animals, by clearing brush and dense weeds from around dwellings
  • On rare occasions, coyotes have been known to seriously injure children. Never leave young children unattended, even in a backyard
  • Protect your pets. Avoid walking dogs during dawn or dusk hours, which are coyotes’ normal feeding times. Avoid using a retractable leash. When walking a pet, carry a stick, whistle or air horn
  • Make sure the coyotes know that they are not welcome by making loud noises, throwing rocks in their direction or spraying them with a garden hose.

For more information visit the following online resources:

Manatee County Animal Services FAQs
University of Florida IFAS Extension information #1
University of Florida IFAS Extension information #2

Janine Wertalik Gregor June 24, 2011 at 05:17 PM
An excellent point was brought up in this article, “Problems occur when people leave food outside their homes, leave trash available, or allow their cats and dogs to roam the neighborhood,” said Animal Services Chief Kris Weiskopf in a news release. “When that happens, you’re providing easy meals to coyotes, inviting them into your neighborhood and encouraging them to lose their natural fear of humans.” Residents may understand more fully now that they contribute to the problem. Where there is food, there will be an increased population of any animal. Food can be in the form of trash or someone's dog or cat. I never thought cats should be let outside and left to fend for themselves. With passing traffic and dangers from an environment that we may think is safe but is not to a cat, I never understood how someone could say they love their animal and then turn them loose to dangers. It is terribly, terribly sad that the little dog was killed. It is truly tragic. Perhaps residents can continue to be educated and make good use of the information that has been coming out as a result of this horrific situation.
dale mathias June 25, 2011 at 08:15 PM
I guess ignorance is bliss.....I'll remember to market my real estate as "coyote friendly". Lady, coyotes just don't belong in residential neighborhoods. Neither do alligators or other predatory animals. If you want that, move to Duette or way out east.
Patty Proctor June 26, 2011 at 07:20 PM
"I never thought cats should be let outside and left to fend for themselves. With passing traffic and dangers from an environment that we may think is safe but is not to a cat, I never understood how someone could say they love their animal and then turn them loose to dangers" Janine-I completely agree with you. Pets should not be left free to roamiI have never understood that, either.
Marjorie R. Seldon July 02, 2011 at 12:10 PM
What follows is from the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin of Jan. 8, 2008: "Susan Iworsley, a pet owner and mother who grew up on Norman Road, said she understands the danger of the area but doesn’t fault the coyote. Sprawling development in the area and an increase in human population have left wild animals such as coyote and fishers with little options for food or habitat. “'I don’t want to sound unsympathetic to the family or the dog, but these animals are being pushed out of their environment,” she said. “Where are they supposed to go? "'They don’t know that Fluffy is loved by somebody. They look at it as a meal.'” I am not suggesting that coyotes with healthy appetites should be permitted to maul and consume defenseless domestic pets or even that coyotes in West Bradenton are rabid. Of course, as Dale Mathias protests, they "just don't belong in residential neighborhoods," and their presence here threatens freedoms we have long taken for granted and should enjoy. But hey, to paraphrase the beloved Woody Guthrie folk song, "This land is our land. This land was their land. This land was made for coyotes and me." This understood and accepted, it's past time to schedule a coyote roundup and to structure and implement a resettlement program. Critter control is key to our quality of life.
Annmarie Gigliotti February 21, 2012 at 11:55 PM
I live in the 24th Street West Block of Manatee County, just North of Bayshore Gardens, I have SEEN a coyote twice walking (trotting) down my street at the 5am hour on 2 occasions. The most recent, this morning, while I was walking my 2 dachshunds in our yard. I thought I was seeing things the first time, but I was sure of myself this morning. It did not give us a second thought. I am sure if I didn't notice it first, that would not have been the case!! I will be calling the proper authorities tomorrow AM.

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