MANATEE -- About 30 residents gathered outside the Bay Lake Estates homeowners meeting Tuesday evening to talk about the topic on many of their minds -- coyotes.
They gathered in a small circle where Lisa Hickey, with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, offered facts about the animal.
Hickey also offered some basic rules to follow:
n Make sure all trash is secure at night.
n Don’t leave pet food outdoors.
n Bring pets indoors.
Manatee County Commissioner John R. Chappie was also there and told residents the county is planning on meeting with officials later this week to discuss the best way to handle the animals on a county level.
Until she lost her dog Ari, Melody Sweetman-Carpenter was clueless about the coyotes who live near her home.
That’s when she began getting calls from others who had lost pets to the animals.
“I want to see a bill go in effect so we can have signs up in our neighborhoods,” she said as she held up a makeshift sign with a photo of a coyote.
Sweetman-Carpenter said having a warning sign up will help make people “a lot more careful with their pets,” and aware of the animals in their neighborhoods.
Shari Maul also wasn’t aware of coyotes in her neighborhood until she lost her cat and learned of other people with similar stories.
She feels awareness is the key to reducing the number of attacks in the area and is hoping with raised awareness through road signs, other animals will not be harmed.