Vice Mayor David Hastings and city officials are warning people about recent coyote sightings in Gulfport.
“I have gotten reports recently all over the place, in Pasadena Yacht and Country Club, in Gulfport and in South Pasadena about day time sightings so throw out that rule about dusk to dawn critters,” stated Hastings.
He also received a call from a citizen on Jan. 10 that while sitting his car in their driveway at approximately 5 p.m. with his large dog sitting in the front passenger seat. A coyote followed them as they backed up, starring at his dog. He stopped the car and the coyote stopped. He went forward and the coyote went forward without taking his eyes off his dog. Vice Mayor commented “Pretty scary.”
“The thing that bothers me, not so much that the coyotes are coming back, this time they seem to be out in daylight,” Hastings said.
What should you do?
If you spot a coyote and want to report the sighting you can contact Pinellas County Animal Services at 727-582-2600.
Pinellas County Officials have some tips, listed on their website, on how to deter coyote presence in your neighborhood.
- Never leave pet food or trash outside where it will attract wildlife.
- Clear brush and dense weeds from around dwellings. This reduces cover for coyotes and their prey, such as rodents and other small animals.
- Protect children. Although rare, coyotes have been known to seriously injure children. Do not leave young children unattended, even in a backyard.
- Protect pets and livestock. These are favorite prey for coyotes. Keep pets indoors, especially at night. When not indoors, keep dogs and cats leashed at all times. There is a Pinellas County Ordinance that prohibits dogs or cats from roaming freely.
- Avoid walking dogs during dawn or dusk hours, which are coyotes’ normal feeding times (Note: You may see a Coyote anytime if it is rabid). Avoid using a retractable leash. Coyotes will notice a dog walked frequently on an extended leash. The coyote will come back, grab the dog, and leave the owner holding an empty leash. When walking a pet, carry a stick, whistle or air horn.
- Use negative reinforcement. Make sure the coyotes know that they are not welcome. Make loud noises, throw rocks in their direction or spray with a garden hose.
“Keep pets inside, walk dogs on the leash, carry pepper spray in case your confronted. We have not heard of a sighting in about 5 days now. Maybe they’re gone,” Hastings said.
View a map of coyote sightings on the Pinellas County Website.
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