Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Coyotes prowl for pets in rural area

KEYSTONE — One afternoon in mid April, Cindy Adams heard rustling.

She knew there was a swamp nearby, so she didn't pay the noise any mind.

Then about 4:30 p.m., she looked up and saw what she initially thought were two big German shepherds.

A closer look revealed something else. Something unshaven. Something with big ears and a furry tail.

"It was the coyotes," she said.

Adams didn't know if she should stand still, run or scream.

"They just totally ignored me, went off the back end of the property and left," she said.

It wasn't Adams the coyotes wanted. It was Kissy, her now deceased Russian blue cat. And Bonnie, Christine Nance's dead black and white one. And Oscar, David von Thaden's late orange and white feline.

By the neighborhood's own count, at least three cats have died since April, when neighbors first spotted coyotes in this rural area. And at least one more is recovering after an encounter with the howling predator. Now, folks are packing up their cats, dogs and food and locking everything inside their homes and businesses before dusk.

"We're having to lock up every durn cat in the neighborhood, which is a hassle," said Mark Adams, a foreman at L&D Farms on Crescent Road. "That's the only time they like to get out and prowl around. Now they're sleeping during the day and trapped in the building at night. It's not really fair, but it's either that or they're gonna get killed."

On Tuesday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission couldn't confirm the number of missing or dead cats, but spokesman Gary Morse said "these incidents with depredation on free-ranging pets and livestock are not uncommon."

According to Morse, coyotes have been documented in every county in the state.

There's not much the commission can do about them, so folks in Keystone are starting to take matters into their own hands.

Every morning, Mark Adams hops in his golf cart and checks for coyote prints. After multiple coyote sightings were reported, he built a rack on his golf cart and slid a loaded .30-30 Marlin rifle inside.

"I'm going to have one of their heads on my golf cart one of these days," he said.

Two weeks ago, Tom Peterson, a hunter who has lived in Keystone for 30 years, used an electronic calling device that sounded like a distressed rabbit to lure the coyotes into shooting range.

"But they're smart," said Peterson, whose encounters with coyotes in Keystone dates back six or seven years. "They're very wary of humans."

The last time anyone saw a coyote was Father's Day, when Peterson spotted one crossing Tarpon Springs and Blake roads.

It's not that Peterson and Adams have anything against wildlife. Adams said he loves the deer, wild turkeys and pigs that roam through Keystone.

But "we don't love the coyotes," he said.

"If they want to live out here and leave everybody else alone, more power to 'em. But they're not going to come over here and start killing all the stuff that we like. Somebody's going to have to pay."

Rodney Thrash can be reached at rthrash@sptimes.com or (813) 269-5303.

>>Fast facts

About coyotes

• They're found throughout North America.

• Can run up to 40 miles per hour and leap an 8-foot wall.

• Weigh 15-45 pounds, about 25 inches tall and 4 feet long, including the tail, with dog-like tracks but in a nearly straight line.

• Mainly nocturnal; eat small mammals, birds, frogs, snakes, berries.

Sources: www.desertusa.com and National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida

Coyotes prowl for pets in rural area 06/24/08 [Last modified: Saturday, June 28, 2008 6:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. CIA chief: Intel leaks on the rise amid 'worship' of leakers

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — CIA director Mike Pompeo says he thinks disclosure of America's secret intelligence is on the rise, fueled partly by the "worship" of leakers like Edward Snowden.

    CIA director Mike Pompeo said the U.S. must redouble its efforts to stop information from leaking.
  2. ABC Racing kennel advances three into semifinals

    Parimutuels

    ST. PETERSBURG — The maiden voyage by Don Burk into the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby series — his first as the ABC Racing kennel owner — went as easy as ABC.

  3. Why Grenfell tower burned: Regulators put cost before safety

    World

    The doorbell woke Yassin Adam just before 1 a.m. A neighbor was frantically alerting others on the fourth floor of Grenfell Tower about a fire in his apartment. "My fridge blew up," the man shouted.

    At least 79 people were killed in the fire at the Grenfell Tower apartment building in London, and the toll is expected to rise.
  4. Bullpen melts down as Rays lose to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jacob Faria allowed his first two big-league home runs and was touched for a career-high three runs Saturday by the Orioles. Other than that, the rookie making his fourth major-league start did okay against the Baltimore bats.

    The bullpen, not so much.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Baltimore Orioles scored four runs during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) SPD118
  5. Lightning shifts search for defense to free agency

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — As much as he tried, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left the weekend's draft without acquiring another top-four defenseman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101