Families worry after coyotes spotted in Dr. Phillips neighborhood

Florida wildlife officials urge caution around animals

Author: Sheli Muniz, Reporter, smuniz@wkmg.com
Published On: Jan 28 2013 06:59:02 AM EST   Updated On: Jan 28 2013 07:17:21 AM EST
Coyotes causing problems
DR PHILLIPS, Fla. -

Families in an Orange County neighborhood are worried because coyotes are on the prowl, attacking pets and rattling nerves.

Monday evening, families living in the Torey Pines subdivision are joining forces to try and stop the vicious animals.

It's a neighborhood where people jog, kids play, pets roam, but something else has been roaming, too.

"It looked like, well, not a wolf, sort of like a dog, but it wasn't a dog," 6-year-old Harper Marnaccio told Local 6 in describing a coyote she spotted in her neighborhood.

"There is no mistaking when they see a coyote," a neighbor said.

People who live in the Turnburry Woods and Torey Pines sections of Orlando are frightened because some have seen coyotes -- and haven't seen their family pets.

Coyotes normally eat small animals, according to wildlife officials.

"My wife has spotted the coyote in our yard.  He has spotted it in his yard," another neighbor said.

Some people have even spotted a coyote at a nearby elementary school.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials are urging homeowners to take trash out at the very last minute and, once emptied, to keep the cans inside to keep coyotes from rummaging through garbage.

Wildlife officials said parents should also stay close to their pets and children and far away from coyotes.

Neighbors will hold a coyote awareness town hall meeting on Monday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Christ Community Church on Apopka Vineland Road.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.