ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — A reported coyote attack on a dog on Thursday night in the Julington Creek area has pet owners and neighbors on alert.
A neighbor posted a video to a Facebook group where you can spot two coyotes walking by:
He says he recorded it last night on Durbin Creek Boulevard across from Fruit Cove Middle School.
Also on Wednesday night, neighbors in Julington Creek got an alert from Vesta Properties letting them know a coyote injured a resident’s pet.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed that last Tuesday, it received a report of a dog who died from a coyote attack, but couldn’t confirm that was the cause.
Still, neighbors like Steve Blackburn are distraught.
“I hate to hear that,” said Blackburn. “People should be very careful with their pets.”
He explained he does what he can to keep his two bulldogs safe.
“When they’re out, we’re out there with them,” he emphasized.
That’s because Blackburn knows they’re not the only animals he shares this space with.
“Deer, turkeys, all kinds of things, really,” said Blackburn, as he listed off a few of the animals he’s caught a glimpse of; But even more importantly is one he hasn’t yet: the coyote.
“I haven’t seen any,” Blackburn acknowledged, “But I’m aware that they are out here.”
“One neighbor posted that they saw one crossing our street,” said another neighbor, Maria Petwo, who was out walking her two dogs at a park by Fruit Cove Middle School.
Petow says she has her own safety routine with her dogs.
“I don’t go out at dusk or dawn,” she noted. “I’m always with them.”
FWC also shared the following recommendations for how people can help prevent conflicts with coyotes, as well as other wildlife:
Prevent interactions with pets. Keep cats indoors and walk dogs on a short leash, using caution when walking pets in wooded areas or near heavy foliage where coyotes could den or rest. If pets are kept in a fenced area, the fence should be high enough (about 6 feet) to deter coyotes and other wildlife from jumping over. Check the bottom of the fence regularly to make sure that coyotes and other wildlife cannot crawl underneath. If the fence is shorter than 6 feet, pets should be monitored.
Avoid attracting coyotes and other wildlife into your yard by removing or securing attractants — secure your trash, feed pets inside, clean grills, and pick up any fallen fruit or birdseed from the yard. Never feed coyotes or other wildlife. Close off any crawl spaces under porches and sheds to prevent coyotes and other wildlife from resting or denning there. Encourage your neighbors to do the same. Coyotes and other wildlife that associate places where people live as an easy place to find food may gradually lose their natural fear of humans.
If a coyote approaches or is within close proximity, you can “haze” the coyote to encourage them to move on. Making noise, waving your arms, and using a deterrent such as spraying water from a strong hose can encourage a coyote to leave the area. Learn more about hazing coyotes in this video by clicking here. Additional tips and information about coyotes can be found by clicking here. Additional information about pet safety around wildlife can be found by clicking here:.
“Just keep an eye on your pets,” Petow suggested.
“Just be very careful,” Blackburn echoed.
FWC also wants to remind everyone that coyotes can be found throughout Florida and have been documented in all 67 Florida counties. They can be found in several habitat types and are common in rural, suburban and even urban landscapes.
Coyote-related reports from the public can be viewed on FWC’s Interactive Coyote Map.
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FWC pointed out that often when people report a missing or killed pet suspecting a coyote, FWC cannot always confirm that it was due to coyote depredation. FWC also added that the coyote map is updated monthly, so it may not include the most recent sightings.