Coyotes spotted in neighborhood

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Coyotes spotted in neighborhood. (WPEC)

Predators on the prowl, moving from rural areas to your neighborhood.

Coyote sightings are up, as mating season begins.

They’ve already attacked a pet in one local neighborhood.

“It was shocking, it really was,” said Jill Jackson, Garden Oaks resident.

Jackson, who lives in Garden Oaks, a gated neighborhood in Palm Beach Gardens on Military Trail near Northlake Boulevard, saw something recently she’ll never forget.

“We were trying to figure out where they came from, we just, we couldn’t figure it out,” Jackson said.

It was about 6 in the morning and she and her roommate were out walking their dogs when she saw a grisly sight. Two coyotes attacked and killed a neighbor’s cat and were trying to drag the cat’s body out of a yard.

“There were two coyotes and they were definitely working in a pair and they were definitely trying to get a cat. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing,” she explained.

The gruesome sight prompted the Garden Oaks HOA to put up notices that read: “Coyotes have been spotted on the property. Please take necessary precautions with your animals and children.”

“I’ve never had an issue. Maybe I’ll keep ‘em inside after all,” said Krista Beckwith, a Garden Oaks resident with two small dogs.

One wildlife expert at the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter says it’s the start of coyote breeding season, so you’re more likely to see them now.

She says they’re getting at least a dozen calls a week about coyote sightings.

Coyotes are not native to Florida, but they have found a home here.

They don’t normally attack people, but can bite if they feel threatened and will go after cats if they’re hungry enough.

“If you put out a whole bunch of cat food and a bunch of cats are coming around eating, the coyote is opportunistic. If they see an opportunity and they’re starving there is a possibility they would take advantage of that situation,” said Amy Kight, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary executive director.

Coyotes are normally timid and they don’t want anything to do with people.

However, if they linger experts say you should be as loud as possible, do not run or turn your back.

Wave your arms, clap your hands, shout, and make noise by banging pots and pans together or shaking a can with rocks or pennies in it to scare the coyotes off.