Growing concerns about coyotes in Atlantic Beach community

By Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter, Jennifer Ready - Reporter

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. - Neighbors in Atlantic Beach are on alert after several sightings of coyotes in their neighborhood.

It’s a growing concern as several pets are missing and many others have been killed.

The coyotes have been spotted roaming in the Oceanwalk neighborhood off of Seminole Road. 

City officials say in the last few weeks, there have been more reports of coyotes than usual in Oceanwalk.

Many family pets are missing or have been killed and wildlife is diminishing, said residents.

Max Mullis, 11 remembers the day he aw his family cat, Uncle John, get attacked by a coyote in his backyard.

“It was just the scariest time of my life,” Max said.

“I looked through the back porch window and I just saw the coyote and I saw the cat and I was worried it was mine and then it turned out to be my dad’s cat,” Max said.

Residents have taken pictures of coyotes in different parts of the neighborhood.  A coyote and at least one pup were caught on surveillance. 

They say something needs to be done sooner rather than later.

“It knows what it can kill, and when it can kill, and how to kill, and I’d hate to see a tragedy with a child if something isn’t done,” said Bill Viola who lives in Atlantic Beach.

“I honestly do not know the solution but I do think if we don’t all work together that eventually we’re going to run out of cats for them to eat and they are going to turn to the next available food source,” said Laura Mullis, another Atlantic Beach resident. 

Wildlife officials say development in nearby areas may be what’s pushing coyotes into parts of Atlantic Beach.

They suggest people walk their pets on a leash, keep trash cans inside and avoid putting birdseed out.

For now, neighbors are taking extra precautions.

he city says they are listening to the concerns and they are working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to determine the next best step. They are urging people to report sightings or incidents to FWC.
 
Their recommendation from the FWC is for residents to co-exist but other options are not being entirely ruled out.  

Trapping is something that has been discussed, but under Florida law, trapped animals are required to be euthanized.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.