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Coyote sightings, missing cats cause concerns in Fernandina community

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FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – A community in Fernandina Beach is on alert after a number of coyote sightings, and some pet owners say their cats are missing.

It's coyote mating season, which means the animals could act more aggressive. Dacey Campbell, who said her cat disappeared, is concerned for her animals' well-being.

"I see just a little of movement in the corner of my eyes and there's two of them full grown, like the size of my 60-pound dog just in my neighbor's driveway," Campbell said.

Residents said coyotes have been spotted all throughout the area. Trappers said they've recently become a nuisance because of construction, which eliminated their natural habitat.

Campbell says one of the coyotes followed her home as she was walking her dog.

"I blew my whistle at it and speed walked my happy behind back into the house," Campbell said. "If they are following me, a grown human with a grown dog, that means they are desperate. That doesn't bode well for our pets. It's very uncomfortable and nobody seems to be doing anything about it."

Bekah Nelson, with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said the agency doesn't remove coyotes from neighborhoods because it's not a successful tactic.

"Relocating coyotes doesn't typically work. They typically will try to return to that spot," Nelson said.

The FWC recommends moving anything that could attract coyotes, including food and garbage cans. If you walk with your pets, you're encouraged to keep them on a short leash.

If you see a coyote and feel threatened, you're urged not to turn your back and run, but keep eye contact. Running could cause the coyote to chase you.

About the Author:

Lifetime Floridian anchors weekends and reports weekdays on issues in Nassau and Baker counties and beyond.