SPRING HILL, Fla. (WFLA) – Coyotes have become a normal part of Florida living over the years and as their numbers grow, so does the concern over whether they’re safe to be around.
Residents of one Hernando County community are taking to Facebook to voice their concerns.
Many in Spring Hill say they’ve either found their family pet dead or it’s disappeared. They say the coyotes don’t just hide in the bushes but are bold and brazen going into the roads and onto peoples’ properties.
“I had my dogs right here and immediately took them inside,’ said Wilfredo Lopez who is afraid of the coyotes lurking in the woods right across the street from his family’s home.
News Channel 8 asked if he was scared for his animals. “Of course,” he responded. “Who wouldn’t be. I’m scared for my kids.”
On their Facebook page, Spring Hill Florida Coyote Problems, you can find pictures of pets that have been killed and others whose owners are desperately searching for.
“The biggest misconceptions are that coyote populations can be controlled,” said Greg Morse of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission.
More said that the coyotes are afraid of people until people unintentionally feed them and that changes the coyote’s typical diet of rats, mice, and trash.
“There is no known way to effectively combat coyote problems,” said Morse. “Trapping is ineffective.”
So News Channel 8 wanted to know what is effective.
People, FWC says, taking an active role in protecting their pets. Others misconceptions, an FWC spokesperson said, that coyotes will turn on people once they eat the pets.
“I thought that they might hurt some humans but definitely,” said Lopez. Adding that with the FWC information, that would be a misconception.
Even so, that’s no consolation to his 11-year-old daughter.
When asked what would it be like if a coyote ate her dog, she said, “I’ll cry.”
The spokesperson for FWC said there are several myths about coyotes, including that they’re extremely dangerous, that they need humans to survive, and that they can be completely eliminated. None of that, the spokesperson said, is true.
As far as humans, FWC says there are 2 documented cases of coyotes going after people.