ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has placed signs and fliers around College Park warning people of coyotes roaming through the area.
The flyers, first spotted on Thursday, provide suggestions on how to spot coyote activity and co-exist with the wild animals.
The newly posted alerts are the first sign that FWC has recognized a coyote issue in the Orlando neighborhood. Pet owners, though, have said that it's been a problem for several weeks.
Harriet Duncan said her 11-year-old cat, Marrakesh, was killed by a coyote in early August.
"I've been so busy trying to get the word out so I don't cry," Duncan said."He was the nicest cat. I got him at the shelter. He jumped up on the shelter bench next to me and put his paw out on my leg and purred, so he claimed me."
And after nine years together at her College Park home, she said he was killed after she let him out one night and a neighbor later told her what happened.
"She told me two coyotes were on my cat and a guy was chasing them afterwards on the street because they were trying to retrieve the body," Duncan said.
After going online, Duncan soon learned she wasn't alone. She talked to many others whose pets had been killed by coyotes weeks earlier.
Jade Apisukh said he helped bury his neighbor's cat, Spike, after his pet was killed.
"It was basically eviscerated. All the organs were removed," says Apisukh. "It was pretty gruesome."
Another woman, Kay McNeill, says her 17-year-old cat named Lucy was killed in the same area a month ago.
"She [a neighbor] found her lying in the yard and it was pretty nasty," said McNeill. "I chose to believe she never knew what hit her."
FWC spokesman Greg Workman said coyotes are natural predators that adapt easily and tend to be active during sunset and sunrise. He said the best way to prevent an animal attack is to keep pets inside.