‘Protect your pets:’ Orange County neighbors struggle with uptick in coyotes

FWC officials say removing coyotes would be ineffective

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Residents in the Lark Killarney area of Orange County said they’ve seen an increase in the coyote population in their area, sparking concerns among neighbors.

Orange County resident Carol Matthews said she believes three of their family’s cats have been killed by coyotes.

“The last one that we lost about four weeks ago was up behinds Mom’s house, and a neighbor had found it, and it was literally half the cat there,” Matthews said.

Matthews said their family has been here since the 1950s and that in the last 8 to 10 years, the coyotes have become a real issue.

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“At times, I’ve sprayed wolf urine in some areas, but I’m not sure that’s really doing much good,” Matthews said.

Matthews is getting creative when it comes to protecting her cats from coyotes at night. While she can lock their cat door, she still has to put duct tape over it to prevent her cats from breaking out.

“I literally have to put a few rows of duct tape across and one up-and-down to make sure the cats don’t get out,” Matthews said.

Other neighbors are also going to great lengths to protect their pets. Kim Sager put an Apple Air Tag on her cat, named Chicken Nugget.

“You have to protect your pets,” Sager said. “I think it’s very dangerous not just for your pets but for people too.”

Sager said she feels like they’re being told to coexist with the coyotes which she says doesn’t feel realistic.

“When you have kids and pets and things — they’re big,” Sager said. “They’re big, and they’re scary, and they’re not scared of people. Not scared of people at all.”

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, removing coyotes is not only ineffective, it’s also inefficient. The coyotes will move to an area where others have been removed, and they’ll begin to have larger litters at a younger age.

“At the end of the day, they’re critters, and they live in the wild,” Sager said. “I really don’t know what they would do. I don’t know what the answer is.”

For more information on how you can protect your home from coyotes, click here.

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Emily joined WKMG-TV in November 2022.