FWC to Parkland residents: Secure your pets and livestock
Monday, July 26, 2010
Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459
In the wake of apparent coyote attacks that proved
fatal for a cat and a dog in Parkland, the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is encouraging residents to
step up pet-security measures.
FWC officials said it appears that in both cases
the pets were roaming freely and were enticing targets for
That's something residents of the Broward County
community can correct, according to the FWC. As development
encroaches upon wildlife habitat, encounters between wildlife -
including coyotes - and humans are bound to increase.
"We all love our pets, and we have to protect
them," said FWC spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro. "We can't bring back
these lost pets, but we can take steps to prevent this from
She said just seeing a coyote in the neighborhood,
doesn't indicate a threat to human safety. In fact, coyotes have
lived in and among humans in urban settings for many years with
little fanfare, but coyotes may see small pets as potential
"The FWC is prepared to deal with nuisance coyotes,
but when lethal response is necessary, it usually should focus on
individual coyotes or coyote families," Ferraro said. "Most of the
time, there is a better response before the situation gets out of
The FWC says residents can prevent most conflicts
with coyotes and other wildlife by taking a few simple, proactive
steps to avoid creating nuisance opportunities.
Coyotes in urban areas become accustomed to humans
if there is a food source in the neighborhood, and coyotes in
particular look for easy meals. These clever creatures get
into pet food and unsecured garbage cans. All such
attractants should be removed from the yard, as should other food
sources in accessible areas.
Though urban coyotes can be seen at any time of the
night or day, it is more common to encounter them between dusk and
dawn, particularly near natural areas bordered by water.
Residents walking small pets at these times and places should
be particularly cautious.
"Carry a flashlight, noisemaker and a stick or golf
club when walking small animals," FWC nuisance wildlife biologist
Tiffany Snow said. "That will help scare away wildlife looking for
Keep pets on a leash, and if approached by
potentially dangerous wildlife, do not hunch over your pet to
protect it. Pick up small pets and stand as tall as
possible. Call the Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC
(3922) to report any problems with coyotes or other wildlife.
Nuisance coyote behavior will be dealt with by the
FWC on a case-by-case basis. If there is a focused problem,
there are methods available to residents and professional trappers
to target specific nuisance animals.
For more information on living with coyotes and
preventing conflicts with these adaptable creatures, visit
MyFWC.com/Wildlife or contact the FWC's South Region office at