September 23, 2015
By Julie Montanaro
TALLAHASSEE -- Cats are disappearing in a north side Tallahassee neighborhood and folks fear coyotes could be the culprits.
The Summer Brooke Homeowners Association is now warning pet owners to keep their cats and dogs inside at night.
Summer Brooke boasts rolling hills, majestic oaks and its website says it's not unusual "to find deer, fox, and even an occasional alligator enjoying the scenery."
Now neighbors may be adding "coyotes" to that list.
"I have heard them late at night when I'm taking my dogs out last thing
at night," Ginger Jordan said as she stood outside her home on Willow Bastic Court. "My husband has seen the coyote in the cul de sac ... right here ... and it's not a small coyote."
Many suspect coyotes in the disappearance of perhaps a dozen cats in the last few months.
Five cats have disappeared on this block alone.
Three of them belonged to Paul Eichorn.
"Three of my cats just disappeared in the last month or so. They just left ... which is very strange," Eichorn said. "Ten to 15 years I've had them, so they know the area well, every neighbor knows them well."
"Another neighbor that's a new neighbor that just moved here ... they were here only a couple of weeks before their cat disappeared," Jordan said. "It's an epidemic lately."
The Homeowners Association has sent out alerts encouraging folks to keep pets under 20 pounds inside. Especially at night.
Missy and Rum Tum are among the cats that went outside and vanished: no remains, no signs of struggle, no nothing.
No one can say for sure whether coyotes are to blame, but residents fear construction on roads in the area and a new subdivision nearby could have sent the nighttime hunters in search of food in Summer Brooke.
We checked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission which sent out a biologist to speak with Summer Brooke homeowners about coyotes last week.
A spokeswoman says it has fielded two reports of coyotes in Summer Brooke.
FWC does have a web page that has information about how to live with coyotes, including what you should do if you encounter one.
More information, on: http://myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/wildlife/coyotes/