South Shores neighbors concerned after coyote sighting

Woman who spotted coyote warning others to bring small pets indoors

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman who spotted a coyote behind her South Shores home is warning others to make sure they bring their small pets indoors at night.

The coyote that’s believed to have killed another animal earlier this week at Alisa Praskovich’s home was caught on camera.

On Sunday night, Praskovich and her wife said they were awakened by a disturbing sound from behind their house.

“Blood curdling, horrific screams,” Praskovich said. 

They then walked out onto their deck to investigate.

“We saw what we very much likely thought was a coyote, which was in the field real close to our fence,” Praskovich said.

She said the coyote stood its ground and started at them. Then, they brought out their dog, which scared the animal away. But there is concern because they believe the coyote is not afraid of humans.

“It’s on people’s porches. It’s in their yards. It’s obviously in the fields,” Praskovich said. “We have had neighbors’ cats disappear.”

One of those neighbors, Maria Bainchetta, witnessed her cat being attacked by a coyote last year. 

“I saw the coyote grab her out of the tree and pull her out,” Bainchetta said. 

She said she scared the coyote away. 

But now there’s an even bigger concern. Multiple South Shores residents said they have seen as many as three coyotes in the neighborhood.

“There’s a mom, a dad and a baby -- probably a year old now,” South Shores resident Scot McCulloch said. “You hear them real late at night, back in the woods over there. Or real early in the morning about 4:30 or 5. They run around.”

Coyotes can be found almost everywhere in North Florida. Just last month, a surveillance camera recorded a coyote on a Southside patio. And another coyote was spotted in Atlantic Beach on Sunday. The sightings lead to an important message.

“Don’t leave your animals or children unattended,” Bainchetta said. "If you're going to be outside, just be aware of your surroundings."

Just blocks from the South Shores neighborhood, coyotes have also been spotted next to the back parking lot fence at WJXT studios. 

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