Manatee County officials today advised residents to properly store trash and to keep pets safe to prevent residential coyote attacks.
“Problems occur when people leave food outside their homes, leave trash available, or allow their cats and dogs to roam the neighborhood,” Animal Services Chief Kris Weiskopf said 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.”
At least two residents have reported in recent weeks that their pets -- one cat and one dog -- were killed by coyotes.
Weiskopf said residents should report residential coyote sightings to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission at (866) 395-4286.
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He 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.